US employers added just 69,000 jobs in May, the lowest number in a year. The economic slowdown is bad news for President Barack Obama ahead of the November elections.
American job growth braked sharply in May and the US unemployment rate rose for the first time since July, putting pressure on the Federal Reserve to ease monetary policy further to shore up the sputtering recovery.
The Labor Department report on Friday, which showed employers added a paltry 69,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the fewest since May last year, is also troubling news for President Barack Obama ahead of November's elections.
The unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent partly because people flocked into the labor market.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called the jobs report for May "devastating news" and a sign that President Barack Obama's economic policies have failed.
"Today's weak jobs report is devastating news for American workers and American families," he said in a statement. He called the May report "a harsh indictment of the President's handling of the economy."
"It is now clear to everyone that President Obama's policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America's middle class.
The president's re-election slogan may be 'forward,' but it seems like we've been moving backward," he said.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected nonfarm payrolls to increase 150,000 and the jobless rate to hold steady at 8.1 percent.