The US economy lost 125,000 jobs in June, more than financial market and economist's forecast of 110,000 as thousands of temporary census jobs ended and private hiring grew less than expected.
With unemployment stubbornly high, household spending has turned sluggish in recent months, threatening to create a vicious cycle that stock market investors and some analysts worry could tip the economy back into recession.
The Federal Reserve is also in a bind. It has held benchmark overnight interest rates close to zero since December 2008 and has pumped more than $1 trillion into the economy.
Fed officials believe a sustainable recovery has taken hold, but are watching cautiously.
Orders to U.S. factories declined broadly in May after nine straight months of gains, raising new concerns that the recovery is stalling. The Commerce Department said Friday that orders for manufactured goods decreased 1.4 percent in May. It was the biggest drop since March 2009.