Employers added a paltry 69,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, the least since May of last year, the Labor Department said on Friday. In addition, 49,000 fewer jobs were created in the prior two months than had been thought and the jobless rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April.
The report is troubling news for President Barack Obama, whose prospects of winning re-election in November could hinge largely on the health of the economy.
Republican challenger Mitt Romney wasted no time in jumping on the data to criticize Obama’s economic policies.
“Today’s weak jobs report is devastating news for American workers and American families,” he said in a statement, calling the report “a harsh indictment of the president’s handling of the economy.”
Stocks, already on the ropes due to a steady diet of troubling news out of Europe, slid sharply at the open with the Standard & Poor’s 500 index down 1.6 percent in the first half hour of trade.
Investors rushed into the safety of government bonds pushing the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note to a record low below 1.5 percent. The dollar fell against the euro.
Hey Mr. President! Hey Mitt Romney. Maybe this will help: