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Last Updated: Friday, 7 July 2006, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
US jobs growth mild as wages rise
US flag with superimposed dollar bills
Analysts think the figures signal a cooling economy
The US economy created 121,000 jobs in June, below analyst expectations, US Labor Department figures show.

That outstripped May's figure of 75,000, later upgraded to 92,000, but is seen by some as signs that the economy is starting to cool.

Other figures showed that hourly wages increased sharply, hitting $16.70 an hour, a 0.5% rise from May.

Meanwhile, the US unemployment rate remained unchanged at the 4.6% figure from the previous month.

Federal Reserve policy-makers have been trying to temper inflation by cooling US economic growth.

At the end of June the Fed raised interest rates for the 17th straight month, to 5.25%.

"The market is really focusing on the headline here with slower-than-expected growth, which suggests the Fed needs to raise rates less than people were looking for," said Rebecca Patterson, currency strategist at JP Morgan.

'Little bit nervous'

Analysts say employers are reticent about hiring employees amid rising energy costs, which can eat into profits.

Higher wages were up by 8 cents on average in June compared to May.

"The bad news is that the average hourly earnings are up. [This] might get the Fed a little bit nervous...but the Fed does not act on one figure alone," said Gerald Lucas, a strategist with Banc of America Securities.

Analysts are divided over where interest rates are heading and whether a rate raise is likely in August.




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