Analysts were expecting that the economy would add 160,000 jobs in the last month. The Labor Department says that number was just 54,000.
The drop is significantly lower than the 200,000 plus jobs that had been added monthly in the three previous months.
While job growth dropped, unemployment went up. The government now puts the national jobless rate at 9.1%.
One of the more alarming revelations in the report is that the number of people who have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks is going back up. That number now is put at 6.2 million.
Following the release of the numbers economists offered a wide range of explanations about what may be happening in the economy. Some blamed the slower job growth on things like the Japanese earthquake that impacted the global economy earlier in the year. Others are saying the slowdown was predicted and expected as the last elements of the economic stimulus spending fade.