WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy is growing too slowly to pull the job market out of a slump, according to data that suggests June will be another weak month for hiring.

Applications for unemployment benefits stayed above a level generally considered too high to lower the unemployment rate. And the annual growth rate for the January-March quarter was unchanged at a tepid 1.9 percent.

The two government reports released Thursday added to the picture of an economy that is faltering for the third straight year after a promising start. Job growth has tumbled, consumers are less confident and Europe’s financial crisis has dampened demand for U.S. exports.