Job scrabble Image: Flazingo Photos

There are further concerns over the strength of the US economic recovery after just 160,000 jobs were created in April.

Analysts had expected much stronger job creation during the month, and it falls nearly 50,000 below the total for March and around 70,000 fewer than in February. The unemployment rate was unmoved at 5% and average earnings grew by 2.5%.

Last week, the US Commerce Department said economic growth had slowed to 0.5% in the first quarter of 2016.

With the Federal Reserve rumoured to be considering another interest rate rise at its next meeting in June, the latest set of economic figures could dampen those intentions.

Aberdeen Asset Management, investment manager Luke Bartholomew, said: "Anyone wanting a June hike should probably look away now. The headline number is disappointing, while the household survey looks particularly ugly.

"If there's a bright spot then it's wages which were a bit better than expected. That's important. The lack of any meaningful increase in wages has caused much head scratching at the Fed. But there's probably not enough here to keep a June hike a clear and present danger."