Employment in the U.S. rose by much less than expected in the month of September, according to a report released by the Labor Department on Friday.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment climbed by 134,000 jobs in September, while economists had expected an increase of about 185,000 jobs.
However, the report also showed a significant upward revision to the pace of job growth in August, with employment spiking by 270,000 jobs compared to the originally reported jump of 201,000 jobs.
The increase in employment in September partly reflected notable job gains in professional and business services, healthcare, and transportation and warehousing.
Employment in the goods-producing sector also climbed by 46,000 jobs, as the construction and manufacturing industries added 23,000 jobs and 18,000 jobs respectively.
On the other hand, the report showed decreases in employment in the retail and leisure and hospitality industries, partly reflecting evacuations related to Hurricane Florence.
Despite the weaker than expected job growth, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September from 3.9 percent in August. The unemployment rate had been expected to edge down to 3.8 percent.
With the bigger than expected decrease, the unemployment rate fell to its lowest level since hitting 3.5 percent in December of 1969.
The drop in the unemployment rate came as the household survey measure of employment showed a jump of 420,000 persons compared to the 150-person increase in the size of the labor force.
The report also said average hourly employee earnings rose by $0.08 or 0.3 percent to $27.24 in September. The year-over-year growth slowed to 2.8 percent from 2.9 percent.
“Wage growth is still on track to climb above 3% by the end of this year,” said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.
He added, “Overall, a strong report that will keep the Fed firmly on track to continue raising rates once a quarter, with the next hike likely to come in December.”