Speaking on WOR Radio Friday, the Independent mayor made the unusually negative warning, but avoided direct criticism of Democratic President Barack Obama for a 9.1 percent national unemployment rate, saying Obama had inherited it "over long periods of time," the New York Daily News reported.
Referring to riots earlier this year in Cairo and Madrid by tens of thousands of people unable to find jobs, Bloomberg said "You don't want those kinds of riots here."
Census data released Tuesday showed the U.S. poverty rate rose to 15.1 percent in 2010, its highest level since 1993, CNNMoney reported.
Bloomberg said joblessness and poverty made for a potential powder keg.
"The public is not happy," he said. "The public knows there is something wrong in this country, and there is. The bottom line is that they're upset."
The mayor said the sharp political divide in Washington needs to be curtailed to get job creation working and that Obama's jobs plan was at least a starting point.
"At least he's got some ideas on the table, whether you like those or not," he said. "The only way you solve this problem is that everybody pays a little more and everybody gets a little less."