WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added only 80,000 jobs in June, a third straight month of weak hiring that shows the economy is still struggling three years after the recession ended.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 8.2 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.

The economy added an average of just 75,000 jobs a month in the April-June quarter — one-third of the pace in the first quarter.

For the first six months of 2012, employers added an average of 150,000 jobs a month. That's fewer than the 161,000 average for the first half of 2011.

Weaker job creation has caused consumers to pull back on spending.

Europe's debt crisis is also weighing on U.S. exports. And the scheduled expiration of tax cuts at year's end has increased uncertainty for U.S. companies, making many hesitant to hire.

Job creation is the fuel for the nation's economic growth. When more people have jobs, more consumers have money to spend — and consumer spending drives about 70 of the economy.
 

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