US job growth in May was the weakest in a year suggesting the economic recovery there is faltering.
The official figures show employers created a mere 69,000 jobs last month, 80,000 fewer than economists has predicted.
In addition companies added 50,000 fewer jobs in the previous two months than previously calculated.
The unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent of the workforce from the previous month’s 8.1 percent.
Government surveys of households showed that was due to new job seekers flooded into the jobs market.
The labour force participation rate – the share of working-age Americans who either have a job or are looking for one – did rise after dropping to a 30-year low in April.
But the level of employment is still five million jobs below where it was in December 2007, when the US economy fell into recession.
Analysts say that economy needs to create roughly 125,000 jobs every month just to keep the unemployment rate steady.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney moved quickly to take political advantage.
He called the disappointing jobs report “devastating news” and a sign that President Barack Obama’s economic policies have failed.
Obama’s administration called on the Republican controlled US Congress to do more to help the economy create jobs.
US Labour Secretary Hilda Solis said: “Congress has to take some action because while we see the unemployment rate where it is, it’s not acceptable.”