US adds fewer-than-expected jobs in September

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U.S. employers added fewer-than-expected 136,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5 percent, a nearly five-decade low, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.


Job gains mainly occurred in health care and in professional and business services, with 39,000 and 34,000 jobs added respectively, the report showed. Employment in government continued to grow, employment in transportation and warehousing edged up, while retail trade employment declined by 11,000.


September's total nonfarm payroll employment is down from August's upwardly revised number of 168,000, and is lower than the economists' estimates of 145,000 polled by Dow Jones.


Job growth has averaged 161,000 per month so far this year, below the average monthly gain of 223,000 in 2018, the bureau said.


The unemployment rate dropped by 0.2 percentage point to 3.5 percent, the lowest since December 1969, when it was also 3.5 percent. Previously, the unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent for three consecutive months since June.


Average hourly earnings for all private-sector workers in September slid 1 cent to 28.09 U.S. dollars, after rising by 11 cents in August. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.9 percent.


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