More bad economic news for President Obama as US employment growth ground to a halt in August.
Sagging consumer confidence discouraged already skittish American businesses from hiring.
Payrolls were unchanged with no jobs added and employment for June and July was revised to show 58,000 fewer positions created in that period than had been previously calculated.
It was the weakest jobs reading in nearly a year and far below the 75,000 job gain that economists had expected.
The employment rate held steady at 9.1 percent of the workforce. But the household survey used to compile that figure did show an increase in employment and a slight rise in the labour force participation rate.
The payrolls numbers were also distorted downwards by industrial involving 45,000 workers at Verizon Communications who were classed as being unemployed while they were on strike.
There is some consolation for the White House from the fact that although hiring cooled, in August there is little sign companies have responded to the darkening economic outlook by laying off workers.
But President Obama needs job growth to stimulate the economy and help get him re-elected next year. The US needs to generate 150,000 jobs or so each month just to keep the unemployment rate steady over time.
He will lay out a new job creation plan in a speech before a rare joint session of Congress next Thursday.
The latest data could strengthen the hand of officials at the US central bank who were ready at their August meeting to do more to help the sputtering economy. The Fed next meets on September 20-21.