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Expanding US jobs market signals economic rebound

The US economy churned out 132,000 new jobs in June, government data showed on Friday, signalling solid growth despite a struggling housing market.

Expanding US jobs market signals economic rebound

The unemployment rate held steady at 4.5 per cent for the third month in a row, the Labour Department report showed.

The report appeared to support the Federal Reserve's view that the economy is pulling out of the first-quarter soft patch, despite a persistent slump in the housing sector, analysts said.

"Today's report adds to the evidence that the economy bounced back in the second quarter, probably to the 3-3.5 percent range, from the anaemic 0.7-per-cent GDP (gross domestic product) growth rate in the first quarter," said Nigel Gault, economist at the research firm Global Insight.

Economists consider job creation a leading indicator of economic momentum, with a benchmark of between 110,000 and 140,000 jobs new jobs needed each month to absorb growth in the number of people seeking work.

June was the 46th consecutive month of rising employment in the United States. The unemployment rate was slightly below the average for 2006, and well below the average of the past four decades.

"All in, this is still a solid economic report, which shows the US economy is weathering the housing slowdown," Andrew Busch at BMO Capital Markets said.

Average hourly wages, a measure of wage inflation pressures, rose 0.3 per cent in June. Meanwhile, the average workweek extended to 33.9 hours from 33.8 in May.

With rising wages and longer work weeks, households appeared likely to have the means to keep spending, which fuels roughly two-thirds of US economic activity.

"The solid increase in both jobs and wages tells us consumers will have the income to continue spending," said Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.

Agence France-Presse




to churn out, v: to produce something quickly in great numbers

to signal, v: to give a sign; to indicate

to struggle, v: to work hard to get out of a difficult situation or to achieve something

housing market, n: the buying and selling of places in which people live

unemployment rate, n: the number of people without work as a proportion of all those in the jobs market

to hold steady, v: to continue unchanged

to pull out, v: to get out of a bad or unwanted situation

first quarter, n: the first three months of the year

soft patch, expression: period of time when things are not going as well as you would like them to

to bounce back, v: to get better after a time when things were bad



1. For how long has the unemployment rate stayed the same?

a. one month

b. two months

c. three months

d. twelve months 


2. Which part of the economy is not performing well?

a. farming

b. housing

c. education

d. employment


3. What is believed to be a leading indicator of economic momentum?

a. taxes

b. crime

c. savings

d. job creation


4. How has people's income changed?

a. dropped

b. increased

c. stagnated

d. stayed the same


5. Per week people work now generally ...

a. much longer

b. a little longer

c. much shorter

d. a little shorter



Which of the following words or phrases replace the ones from the passage best?

1. solid

a. weak

b. strong

c. unwanted

d. disastrous


2. in a row

a. in the end

b. interrupted

c. intermittently

d. consecutively


3. persistent

a. new

b. lasting

c. avoidable

d. unexpected


4. slump

a. boost

b. boom

c. decline

d. confidence


5. anaemic

a. weak

b. proud

c. exciting

d. wonderful



Questions 1. c, 2. b, 3. d, 4. b, 5. b 

Synonyms 1. b, 2. d, 3. b, 4. c, 5. a


By Ajarn Horst Baelz

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