Investors sold stocks Friday after the U.S. government reported that only 80,000 jobs were created in June, the third straight month of weak hiring.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 124.20 points to close at 12,772.47. The loss wiped out the Dow's gain for the week.
The reluctance of U.S. employers to add jobs shows that the economy is still struggling three years after the recession officially ended.
"It shows the U.S. economy is losing momentum," said Sharon Stark, chief market strategist at the brokerage firm Sterne Agee. "It's a sign of everyone waiting to see what's next."
Of the 30 stocks in the Dow average, only five rose. The world's largest producer of aluminum, Alcoa, and Caterpillar, the construction equipment maker, were among the hardest-hit Dow stocks with declines of about 3 percent each.
The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 0.94 percent to 1,354.68; the Nasdaq composite index dropped 1.30 percent to 2,937.33.
New signs of economic sluggishness around the world sent commodities prices lower. Crude oil dropped $2.77 to $84.45 a barrel. -- AP