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U.S. Employment Report: Entering the Second Half of the 'Year of Two Halves'

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Good economic news is too much to ask for these days. The U.S. employment report surprised to the downside, not so much because of the expected negative headline following the Census layoffs, but rather because of the fall of both weekly hours worked and average hourly earnings, as well as weaker-than-expected payroll gains in the private sector (83,000 versus the 110,000 expected by the Bloomberg consensus). The workforce contracted for the second month in a row with a sharper 652,000 drop in June, contributing to another 0.2% reduction of the unemployment rate.[...]

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