Stocks fell sharply on Friday after the May payrolls report showed private hiring was much lower than expected, raising fears about the strength of the economic recovery.

The Labor Department said 431,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy, but of that total, 411,000 workers were hired for the U.S. Census. Wall Street looked for payrolls to rise by 513,000.

This shows that there's not much in the economy able to generate ongoing jobs growth, and that raises the question of the sustainability of the recovery, said Joseph Battipaglia, market strategist at Stifel Nicolaus in Yardley, Pennsylvania.

Wall Street tracked European equities, which fell on concerns about Societe Generale's derivatives business. Also, worries intensified that Europe's sovereign debt troubles could spread after a Hungarian official said the country was at risk of a Greek-style crisis. The euro fell to a four-year low against the dollar.

Financial stocks were pressured by the jobs data and problems in Europe. The KBW Banks index <.BKX> and S&P Financial sector <.GSPF> both fell almost 2 percent. JPMorgan Chase & Co shed 1.4 percent to $38.56, while Wells Fargo & Co slumped 2 percent to $28.33.

The Dow Jones industrial average <.DJI> was down 180.24 points, or 1.76 percent, at 10,075.04. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index <.SPX> was down 18.55 points, or 1.68 percent, at 1,084.28. The Nasdaq Composite Index <.IXIC> was down 33.40 points, or 1.45 percent, at 2,269.63.

There have been nine days since 1998 when payrolls data was reported and the SPDR S&P 500 exchange-traded fund (ETF) opened down 1 percent or more, according to Bespoke Investment Group. On those days, the fund rose an average of 1.2 percent from open to close.

The ETF was down 1.7 percent on Friday.

Chris Burba, a short-term market technician at Standard & Poor's in New York, cited a support level for the S&P 500 at 1,070, a recent low for the index. If the S&P closes below that level, he said, the risk of sustaining a decline beneath the February low would increase.

BP Plc avoided a decision on whether to pay its next quarterly dividend as it faced heavy political pressure to put the payout on hold while it fights the oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico. BP's U.S.-listed shares fell 3 percent to $38.13.

Dow component McDonald's Corp fell almost 1 percent to $67.26 after it recalled 12 million Shrek-themed drinking glasses. U.S. officials warned consumers to stop using them because they contain the toxic metal cadmium.

Decliners outnumbered advancers on the New York Stock Exchange by a ratio of more than 12-to-one, while about 20 stocks fell on the Nasdaq for every one that rose.

(Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)