The U.S. added fewer jobs than expected in June, confirming that the economy is stuck in a midyear slump for the third year in a row since the end of the Great Recession.

The nation added 80,000 jobs in June, and averaged just 75,000 new jobs per month from April to June, the weakest three months since August through October 2010. The nation averaged 226,000 jobs created from January through March, according to the Associated Press.

“Let’s just agree: This number stinks,” Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at the investment firm BTIG, told the Associated Press.

The Labor Department’s report on job creation and unemployment is the most closely watched monthly indicator of the U.S. economy. There are four reports remaining before Election Day, including one on Friday, Nov. 2, four days before Americans vote.

Maine’s June job-growth numbers won’t be released until July 20, but the national figures don’t bode well for the state.

At 7.4 percent Maine’s unemployment rate is lower than the national rate of 8.2 percent, but job growth here tends to lag behind national figures.

State politicians were quick to weigh in on the national numbers.

“After 41 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent and amidst our nation’s worst post-recession recovery, the unchanged unemployment rate for June should be a glaring reminder that the American people expect and deserve more from us here in Washington,” retiring U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, said in a statement.

Maine’s net job growth was flat in May, remaining at 592,700 nonfarm jobs, according to the state’s Center for Workforce Research and Information. That was 1,600 more jobs than the state had the previous May.

The state’s unemployment rate for May was up slightly from 7.2 percent in April, but down from 7.7 percent in May 2011. Maine’s unemployment rate has been below the national average throughout the economic downturn.

“Today’s jobs numbers are a stark reminder that we need to implement policies that foster an environment that promotes job creation,” said Maine’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate Charlie Summers. “Businesses are being taxed too much, and this is stifling economic growth.

“Washington seems to believe that we can tax and regulate our way to prosperity, and these numbers show clearly that is not the case.

“In order to get Americans back to work, we need to have a sharply different perspective on the relationship between government and business. We need government to get out of the way and set the American entrepreneurial spirit free again,” Summers said.

State Sen. Cynthia Dill, the Democratic Senate nominee, said President Obama’s policies are showing progress, but more must be done.

“Unemployment has been moving in the right direction under President Obama, though not as fast as any of us would like,” she said.

“Fortunately, there are solutions out there, including the Bring Jobs Home Act that would preserve Maine manufacturing jobs by cutting taxes for U.S. companies that move jobs and business operations here from other countries and end tax loopholes that reward companies that ship jobs overseas.”

Independent Senate candidate Angus King said that “clearly the economy is fragile and while any job growth is good news, clearly we have a long way to go.”

Snowe said the government can do more to help the economy.

“I have vigorously argued and long championed an aggressive approach to tackle the fundamental issues that will turn the economy around, such as overhauling the tax system and implementing regulatory reform, which Congress and the Administration have consistently ignored,” she said in a statement.

Unemployment rates have varied widely throughout the state.

In May, not seasonally adjusted rates ranged from 6.1 percent in Cumberland County to 10.9 percent in Washington County. Rates tended to be lower than the statewide average in southern and central counties and higher than average among eastern and northern counties.

The western and northern counties in Maine were the hardest hit during the economic downturn, with sawmills and paper mills closing and high unemployment. The southern and central counties, home to the state’s largest metropolitan areas and a greater mix of industries, tend to have lower unemployment rates, economists said.

Professional services has been one area of growth in the state, economists said.

On Monday, the Lewiston Job Fair will feature employers such as TD Bank, T-Mobile and Lewiston 911 dispatch, which have openings for call center jobs. About 200 people are expected to attend the fair, according to the state Department of Labor.

There’s currently 3,900 positions open in the state jobs bank. About 21,000 Mainers are registered with the jobs bank, including those receiving unemployment benefits and other job seekers, the state Labor Department said.

In the monthly U.S. jobs report, there were some bright spots.

The average work week grew to 34.5 hours from 34.4 in May, boosting many workers’ paychecks. And average hourly pay rose 6 cents to $23.50.

Hourly pay has increased 2 percent in the past year and is ahead of inflation, which has fallen in recent months along with gas prices.

About one-third of the jobs gained in June were in temporary services.

Manufacturing added 11,000, its ninth straight month of gains.

But growth in factory jobs slowed sharply in the second quarter compared with the first. Health care added 13,000 jobs, and financial services gained 5,000. Retailers, transportation firms and government cut jobs.

In the U.S. and in Maine, construction has been among the hardest hit sectors during the downturn. For example, in Maine, construction jobs fell 24 percent during the downturn to 24,100 in May, down from its peak of 31,900 in April, 2006, according to the Associated General Contractors of America.

“Maine is very sluggish. With zero population growth, there’s less need for new housing, new schools and new construction in general,” said Kenneth Simonson, chief economist with the Associated General Contractors of America.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Staff Writer Jessica Hall can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

[email protected]