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ICYMI: U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls to Lowest Level Since 1969

By Eric Morath and Harriet Torry Friday, October 5, 2018

The unemployment rate fell in September to the lowest level since the Vietnam War while hiring cooled slightly, the latest signs of an extremely tight labor market.

The unemployment rate fell to 3.7% from 3.9% in August, the lowest rate since December 1969, the Labor Department said Friday.   

U.S. nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 134,000 in September, the smallest gain in a year and a possible sign employers are starting to struggle to fill jobs. Wages increased last month and advanced 2.8% from a year earlier.

Economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal had expected 180,000 new jobs and a 3.8% unemployment rate.

The Labor Department said it’s possible that employment in some industries was affected by Hurricane Florence, which struck the Carolinas last month. But the department couldn't quantify the impact. It said response rates to September surveys were within normal ranges.         

Revised figures show employers added 270,000 jobs in August and 165,000 in July, a net upward revision of 87,000. Through the first nine months of the year, employers added an average of 211,000 workers to payrolls each month, well outpacing 2017’s average monthly growth of 182,000. That runs counter to economists’ expectation for hiring to broadly ease as the labor market tightens. U.S. employers have added to payrolls for 96 straight months, extending the longest continuous jobs expansion on record.

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