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U.S. Creates 156,000 Jobs In September, Lower Than Predicted

A job seeker stops at a table offering resume critiques during a job fair held in Atlanta.
John Amis
A job seeker stops at a table offering resume critiques during a job fair held in Atlanta.

The U.S. economy generated 156,000 new jobs in September, according to the monthly jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The results did not meet expectations: Economists had predicted between 170,000 and 176,000 new jobs for September.

In the previous report for August, the U.S. economy had been reported to have 151,000 new jobs, with a steady unemployment rate. But Friday's BLS report revised that number sharply upward, to 167,000. It also changed July's number, dropping it down to a gain of 252,000 instead of the 275,000 that was reported earlier.

Putting the new data in context, the BLS says:

"Thus far this year, job growth has averaged 178,000 per month, compared with an average of 229,000 per month in 2015. In September, employment gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care."

The unemployment rate ticked up slightly, from 4.9 to 5 percent, and the number of unemployed people was at 7.9 million, also reflecting little change. As the Labor Department said Friday, "Both measures have shown little movement, on net, since August of last year."

The report comes with the presidential campaign now in the homestretch — and as NPR's Marilyn Geewax has reported, both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are likely to seize on the numbers as a chance "for spinning a final narrative about job growth."

Here's what the BLS had to say about the wages workers are being paid:

"In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents to $25.79. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6 percent. Average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $21.68 in September."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.
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