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Hiring stays sluggish as companies take time to reevaluate

10:53 AM, Jul 9, 2012   |    comments
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(CBS News) We learned this past week that the American job machine is jammed -- again. The government says the economy picked up only 80,000 jobs in June - the third consecutive month of weak job growth. A lot of that is because of how cautious U.S. businesses are being.

HK Trucks of central New Jersey is hiring -- slowly. The company, which sells, rents and repairs trucks -- will add two to three jobs this year. General manager Gregg Fazekas calls it painstaking

"Our interviewing process, over the last couple of years has been extensive," he said. "I've interviewed for a position for a year."

Like companies across the country, HK Trucks has been slow to take on new workers. The company's 24 employees have been trained to do more than one job as the recession forced a hard look at operations.

"Slow economic growth is actually good because it allows us to really focus on what's most important," Fazekas said.

"That story is a story being told in all parts of the economy," said Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi. "One of the strengths of this current recovery is that American businesses are using it to fix things -- to get their balance sheets in order, reduce their debt, get their cost structures down, get their profitability up."

But, Zandi said, "the downside is we still have a lot of people unemployed."

"We're very vulnerable. The collective psyche is just underwater," he said. "We are very, very nervous."

Still, Fazekas says his customers are seeing slow but steady improvement

"I see with our customers that they're actually expanding their fleet," he said. "It's never going to explode like it did before, but I think there's going to be growth there."

There were bright spots in the government's June jobs report. Workers added more hours to their week and wages increased slightly -- a potential signal of future jobs growth.

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