Manufacturing has been a big part of the job market's recovery this year, along with the government and temporary-staffing sectors. But the Institute for Supply Management's factory-sector index fell more than expected in June, suggesting Europe's troubles may now be weighing on U.S. exports.
The construction sector, meanwhile, remains weak. Spending on all types of building declined 0.2% in May from April, and was down 8% from May 2009, the government said Thursday.
On Wall Street, where the Dow is down 13% since late April, there is anxiety about Friday's report on jobs, said investment strategist David Dietze at Point View Financial Services in Summit, N.J.
"Everyone is deadly concerned that the payroll number is going to be ugly," he said.
The stock market also has been spooked by investors' rush in recent months into the classic haven of U.S. Treasury bonds. The market yield, or interest rate, on the 10-year Treasury note – a benchmark for mortgages and other consumer rates – has plunged to 2.92%, its lowest level in more than a year, from nearly 4% in early April.
Investors' willingness to lock up their money in bonds at such low rates typically is a sign that they expect the economy to slow sharply.