In what is bad news for President Barack Obama’s re-election chances in November, US employers hired at a dismal pace in June creating just 80,000 jobs, fewer than forecast.
The numbers fuel concerns that Europe’s debt crisis is hitting the US economy and increased the pressure on the central bank, the Federal Reserve, to do more.
Job creation during the month was not enough to bring down the country’s lofty 8.2 percent unemployment rate.
That total has been above 8.0 percent since February 2009, but that is partly accounted for by more people joining the labour force and looking for jobs.
The so-called underemployment rate also rose. That is part-time workers who would prefer to work full-time and those who want a job but have given up looking.
The White House has acknowledged that economic weakness outside the United States is a major factor in things like jobs growth which will dominate debate and November’s presidential election between Obama and Republican Mitt Romney.
Euronews Washington correspondent Stefan Grobe said: “It seems that for the rest of the election campaign the first Friday of every month is going to be unkind to Barack Obama.
“The headlines will likely be negative for the president surrounding the unemployment rate – if it stays the same or worsens.
“The White House fears it will compound the desire for a change among a sour electorate.”