More terrible news on the economy, this time regarding private sector hiring.
Private employers hired a far fewer than expected 119,000 people in April, the smallest gain since September 2011, a report showed on Wednesday, adding to concerns that the economy has lost some of its momentum.
The manufacturing sector shed 5,000 jobs, the first loss since September of last year. That was in contrast to more cheery data on Tuesday that showed a gauge of employment in the sector rose to its highest level since last June.
Economists surveyed by Reuters had forecast the ADP National Employment Report would show a gain of 177,000 jobs.
The report by ADP, a payrolls processor, is jointly developed with Macroeconomic Advisers LLC and is published two days before the government's broader payrolls report.
"This is an upsetting report," said David Carter, chief investment officer at Lenox Advisors in New York.
"The strength of the U.S. economic rebound is clearly still uncertain. Hopefully we don't get a third consecutive summer of weaker growth."
U.S. stock index futures lost further ground immediately after the data, while Treasuries prices added to gains and the dollar pared gains against the yen and euro.
March's private payrolls figure was also revised down to an increase of 201,000 from the previously reported 209,000.
The government's "official" report will be out on Friday. Depending on how many more Americans have given up looking for work, the unemployment rate may stay the same or perhaps even edge down a little. But what that report won't show is that there are still broad areas with depression-like unemployment numbers.
And Obama is running out of time to turn it around.