U.S. employment growth unexpectedly slowed for the third straight month in September, which could make the Federal Reserve more cautious about raising interest rates.
Nonfarm payrolls rose 156,000, down from a revised gain of 167,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department said on Friday.
Economists polled by Reuters had expected employers to add 175,000 jobs last month.
Fed Chair Janet Yellen has said the economy needs to create less than 100,000 jobs a month to keep up with population growth.Average monthly job gains have been about 180,000 this year, which Yellen has described as "unsustainable."
The unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percentage point to 5.0 percent last month, though the increase was driven by Americans rejoining the labor force.
Friday's employment report will be the last before the Fed's Nov. 1-2 policy meeting. Investors see almost no chance of a rate increase at that meeting given how close it is to the Nov. 8 presidential election.
Yellen said last month that the Fed will likely raise rates once this year, but prices on fed funds futures suggest just above even odds the hike will come at the Fed's last policy meeting for the year in December.
Hourly wages for private sector workers rose 2.6 percent in September from the same month a year earlier, in line with economists' expectations. The annual growth rate has shown signs of accelerating over the last year although it remains slower than before the 2007-2009 recession.
So people are coming back to the labor force, wages are increasing, but new job growth is slowing a bit. Again, you would have to wonder what kind of recovery we'd be having if Republicans hadn't killed the American Jobs Act five years ago. And despite the GOP doing everything it could to sabotage the economy, it has still managed to create 11 million jobs compared to Dubya's 1.3 million.
But we need Trump to fix it? OK, sure.
Here's the reality: this now means we're in a 72-month private sector job growth streak.
Six straight years. Best in US history.
But Obama disappointed you?
Yeah. Sure he did.