U.S. job growth slowed in April, spooking markets and giving President Barack Obama a tougher sell as he tries to convince voters that the economy is on the mend.

The disappointing jobs report raised concerns that the economy, which appeared to be accelerating late last year and early this year, is bogging down again. The labor force shrank again last month, indicating more workers are throwing in the towel.

Employers added a seasonally adjusted 115,000 jobs in April, the smallest increase since October, the Labor Department said. Private employers added 130,000 jobs while governments cut their payrolls by 15,000.

The unemployment rate, derived from a separate survey, ticked down to 8.1%, the lowest rate since January 2009. But the drop wasn’t good news: The rate fell mostly because 342,000 people left the labor force.

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