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Jobs barely rise, dashing hopes of economic revival

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in June, with employers hiring the fewest number of workers in nine months, dampening hopes the economy was on the cusp of regaining momentum after stumbling in recent months.

Nonfarm payrolls rose only 18,000, the weakest reading since September, the Labor Department said on Friday, well below economists’ expectations for a 90,000 rise.

Many economists raised their forecasts on Thursday after a stronger-than-expected reading on U.S. private hiring from payrolls processor ADP, and they expected gains of anywhere between 125,000 and 175,000.

The unemployment rate climbed to 9.2 percent, the highest since December, from 9.1 percent in May.

The government revised April and May payrolls to show 44,000 fewer jobs created than previously reported. The report shattered expectations that the economy was starting to accelerate after a soft patch in the first half of the year.

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The private sector added 57,000, accounting for all the jobs created, with government employment shrinking 39,000 because of fiscal problems at local and state governments.

Economic activity in the first six months of the year was dampened by rising commodity prices and supply chain disruptions following Japan’s devastating earthquake in March.

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Signs the labor market is struggling is a major blow for the Obama administration, which has struggled to get the economy to create enough jobs to absorb the 14.1 million unemployed Americans.

The economy is the top concern among voters and will feature prominently in President Barack Obama’s bid for re-election next year. So far, the economy has regained only a fraction of the more than 8 million jobs lost during the recession.

At the same time, the Federal Reserve — which wrapped up a $600 billion bond-buying program last week designed to spur lending and stimulate growth — appears unlikely to take any further steps to boost the economy.

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The economy needs to create between 125,000 and 150,000 new jobs a month just to absorb new labor force entrants.

Details of the report showed widespread weakness, though factory payrolls rebounded 6,000 after contracting in May for the first time in seven months, with the recovery reflecting a step-up in motor vehicle production.

Construction employment fell 9,000 last month after declining 4,000 in May. Government employment declined for an eighth straight month as municipalities and state governments continued to wield the axe to balance their budgets.

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The report also showed the average workweek fell to 34.3 hours from 34.4 hours. Employers have been reluctant to extend hours because of the uncertainty surrounding the recovery.

Average hourly earnings slipped a penny, more evidence that wage-driven inflation is not a risk. (Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Neil Stempleman)

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Trump asked right-wing conspiracy theorist congressman to help him pick his next Director of National Intelligence

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On Monday, Politico reported that President Donald Trump is consulting with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) about who he should consider to replace Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

Nunes has led the Republican side of the House Intelligence Committee since 2015 and chaired the committee for four years, despite having no professional qualifications of any kind for that role. Since 2017, he has been known for his stunts and conspiracy theories intended to discredit the Russia investigation and throw suspicion on anyone who looks into Trump's conduct.

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Conservative newspaper hilariously trolls Trump about his failure to build any new border wall

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Donald Trump on the US-Mexico Border

The conservative Washington Examiner trolled President Donald Trump for his failure to construct any new border barricade during his 30 months in office.

On Monday, Trump lashed out at the media on Twitter for not giving him positive coverage for his wall, which he erroneously claimed would be paid for by Mexico.

The Examiner replied to Trump on Twitter, posting an article headlined, "Trump has not built a single mile of new border fence after 30 months in office."

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Here’s how a new study implies the Supreme Court has killed 16,000 people since 2012

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A new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research looked into the effects of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion to people below 138 percent of the poverty line, which has seen nearly 15 million people enrolled in participating states. The results were encouraging: the mortality rate for near-elderly adults has dropped over 9 percent in the four years for which data is available.

But while this is cause for celebration, The Atlantic staff writer Annie Lowrey offered a darker take on the implications of these numbers:

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