Let's just say it: The May U.S. jobs report released today (Friday) was abysmal.
American businesses in May added the smallest number of workers in a year, only 69,000 – less than half of the median analysts' estimate of 150,000.
The unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked up from 8.1% to 8.2% as job seekers returned to the workforce, the Labor Department report revealed.
In addition, revisions from previous months showed the economy gained fewer jobs in March and April than originally believed. March's employment numbers were reduced by 11,000 jobs to total 143,000, while April's plunged by 38,000 to total a lousy 77,000.
The disappointing numbers cast doubt on the strength of the U.S. economic recovery, and also overshadow any evidence that the labor market is improving.
The news sent the Dow Jones tumbling some 160 points on the open and more than 220 points by noon, with the other indexes following. While many traders were anxious to see May end, June hasn't started off in the right direction.
"Yuck, this is really not good," Michael Mullaney, who helps manage $9.5 billion as chief investment officer at Fiduciary Trust, bluntly told Bloomberg News. "We're at a very precarious point right now as far as investors' psyche is concerned."