The economy likely added a net 150,000 net nonfarm payrolls in May, which would keep the unemployment rate unchanged at 8.1 percent, a CNNMoney survey of economists finds.
The private sector added 162,000 jobs, but government shed 12,000, the poll finds.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will unveil its official jobs report on Friday.
Job growth of 250,000 a month is considered healthy, while 150,000 breaks even with population growth.
"When you are getting this drip, drip job creation, the competition is much, much harder," says Bill Rodgers, public policy professor at Rutgers University, pointing out that for every open position, four jobseekers competing for it.
Hampering labor-market recovery are the European debt crisis and the pending fiscal cliff in the U.S., a term to describe a year-end event when tax cuts are set to expire while automatic spending cuts are set to kick in, which could siphon hundreds of billions out of the economy next year.
"Businesses are worried about fiscal uncertainty," says Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, CNNMoney adds.
Jobs reports in February and March came in well above expectations although economists point out that unseasonably warm winter weather brought construction jobs online sooner, which bumped up the numbers.
Meanwhile, private employers added 133,000 jobs in May, according to the ADP National Employment Report, below expectations for 148,000 jobs, Reuters reports.
Economists see the coming months unfolding in a similar pattern marked by sluggish recovery.
"Recent data hasn't been great, and while this isn't a horrible number, it shows we're in a lackluster period in the economy right now," says Wayne Kaufman, chief market analyst at John Thomas Financial in New York, according to Reuters.
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