The U.S. economy created just 80,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate held steady at 8.2 percent, reflecting continued slow growth in the economy with the presidential election just four months away.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said private payrolls increased 84,000, while the government lost 4,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate is the most closely watched indicator as to whether the Federal Reserve will step in with additional monetary easing.
Recent economic indicators have painted a fairly gloomy picture, with Institute of Supply Management numbers indicating a contraction, though factory orders have jumped and Thursday's ADP private payrolls report was better than expected.
UPDATE: CNBC's John Harwood, reporting on today's jobs numbers, definitively states that it's a "very dissapointing report for the Obama administration" and that this report is "not good news for the American economy":