July 3, 2013

Reports point to solid U.S. hiring in June

The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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A job seeker stops at a table offering resume critiques during a job fair in Atlanta in May.

2013 Associated Press File Photo

The Commerce Department said U.S. factories fielded more orders for computers, machinery and other goods in May. And a measure of business investment increased for the third straight month.

The housing recovery is strengthening, which should help boost construction jobs.

Consumers continue to help the economy with their spending, despite higher taxes that have reduced their take-home pay this year. And a measure of their confidence rose last month to its highest point in 5½ years.

A stronger second half fueled by continued job gains could be enough for the Fed to begin tapering its stimulus. Chairman Ben Bernanke said on June 19 that the Fed would slow its bond purchase later this year and end it next year if the economy continued to strengthen.

But Bernanke added that if the economy weakens, the Fed won't hesitate to delay its pullback or even step up its bond purchases again. The bond purchases have kept long-term interest rates low.

Several Fed members have since tried to clarify Bernanke's remarks by saying that the tapering would depend on the strength of the economy — not the calendar.

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