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Jobless Rate Hits 5-Decade Milestone

It's at 3.5%, though employers added a modest 136K jobs
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 4, 2019 7:49 AM CDT
In this Sept. 17, 2019, photo job seekers line up to speak to recruiters during an Amazon job fair in Dallas. On Friday, Oct. 4, the U.S. government issues the September jobs report.   (AP Photo/LM Otero)

(Newser) – Steady, but a little below expectations. That's the quick assessment of the Wall Street Journal of the new jobs report out Friday. Employers added 136,000 jobs in September, under the expected 145,000, though the unemployment rate fell to a five-decade low of 3.5% per the AP. The Labor Department says that despite the ultra-low unemployment rate, which was down from 3.7% in August, average hourly wages slipped by a penny. Hourly pay rose just 2.9% from a year earlier, lower than 3.4% at the beginning of the year.

Hiring has slowed this year as the US-China trade war has intensified, global growth has slowed, and businesses have cut back on their investment spending. Still, hiring has averaged 157,000 in the past three months, enough to lower the unemployment rate over time. Stock futures ticked upward on Friday's news. The unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 3.9%, the lowest on records dating from 1973. Overall, the rate of 3.5% matches a level last seen in December 1969, reports CNBC.

(Read more unemployment stories.)

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