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The drop of two-tenths of a percentage point in the USA unemployment rate from 3.9% in August pushed it to levels last seen in December 1969 and left it near the Fed's forecast of 3.7% by the end of this year.

The Labor Department says employers added just 134,000 jobs, the fewest in a year, though that figure was likely lowered by Hurricane Florence. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey called for an increase of 185 000 jobs.

The Labor Department said it was "impossible to quantify" the hurricane's net effect on employment.

Beyond the payroll numbers and the jobless rate, the real news was that wages continued their steady but moderate rise. "The fall in the unemployment rate is largely due to the "right" reasons: people finding work (i.e. not because people gave up looking)", wrote Elise Gould, senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

The economy does show some weak spots. That's consistent with other reports showing strength in such activity. At the same time, other demographic factors also lower the wage total, as higher-paid older workers retire.

The household survey showed 299,000 people reported staying at home in September because of the weather, while 1.489 million employees worked part-time because of the weather.

Healthcare employment rose by 26,000 in September.

The economy added 134,000 jobs in September while previous estimates were revised up from 147,000 to 165,000 for July and from 201,000 to 270,000 for August, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on October 5. Overall government payrolls increased by 13 000. The annual advance of 2.8% followed a 2.9% gain in August.

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Average hourly earnings showed a 2.8 percent increase since September 2017, meeting Wall Street expectations.

Another number that provides some insight is weekly wages. A shorter workweek has the effect of boosting average hourly pay.

And many analysts see the unemployment rate continuing to decline this year, ramping up pressure on wages and prices.

The latest drop in the jobless rate puts it further below Fed estimates of levels sustainable in the long run.

A rising number of companies are converting part-timers who have wanted more hours to full-time workers and are posting more full-time jobs.

The rate remained unchanged in September at 62.7 percent of eligible workers in the workforce, down from a pre-recession rate of 66 percent. The data come a day after a selloff in government bonds renewed concerns about rising inflation and whether the Federal Reserve will have to lift borrowing costs at a faster pace in order to keep the USA economy from overheating. The employment- population ratio, another broad measure of labour-market health that central bankers like to watch, rose to 60.4% from 60.3%.

Trade contributed 1.2 percentage points to the economy's 4.2 percent annualized growth pace in the second quarter, mostly reflecting a front-loading of soybean exports to China before Beijing's retaliatory tariffs came into effect in early July.


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