GOP opponent Mitt Romney, who has made jobs the centerpiece of his political indictment of President Obama, called the new Labor Department report "devastating news" for American families.
"It is now clear to everyone that President Obama's policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America's middle class," Romney said.
The unemployment rate also rose to 8.2%, the first increase in 11 months.
White House officials pointed out that the economy has added some jobs for 27 straight months, that it is coming back from worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
"Problems in the job market were long in the making and will not be solved overnight," said Alan Krueger, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers. "The economy lost jobs for 25 straight months beginning in February 2008, and over 8 million jobs were lost as a result of the Great Recession."
The 69,000 new jobs in May are the lowest monthly total in a year; the Labor Department also made downward revisions on reported jobs gains of previous months.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said that "high unemployment and a weak economy" are "the sad new normal for families and small businesses.
"For three years the unemployment rate has remained far above what the administration predicted with the 'stimulus' spending binge," Boehner said.
This story first appeared in USA Today.