Employment rose far less than expected in May to record its weakest reading since September, while the jobless rate rose to 9.1 percent as high energy prices and the effects of Japan's earthquake bogged down the economy.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 54,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, with private employment rising 83,000, the least amount since June. Government payrolls dropped 29,000.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected payrolls to rise 150,000 and private hiring to increase 175,000 in May. The government revised employment figures for March and April to show 39,000 fewer jobs created than previously estimated.
The job creation slowdown confirmed the economic weakness already flagged by other data from consumer spending to manufacturing. It could stoke fears about the depth and duration of a slowdown that started early in the year.
Accordingly, the GOP reaction was as swift as it was predictable, as Politico reports:
Market futures were down on the news, and Republican leaders quickly rolled out statements hitting the president.
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said the numbers were “yet another reminder that Barack Obama has failed to lead our economy back to recovery.”
Priebus said Obama “continues to cling to failed policies that are causing renewed uncertainty for job creators and adding insult to injury for the millions of Americans that still cannot find work amid rising consumer good prices and a troubled housing market. Instead of continuing to defend an unsustainable status quo, Barack Obama would better serve the American people by joining Republicans in offering serious proposals to cut spending and actually grow our economy.”