Unemployment rate hits the lowest level since 1969

Job creation for September fell to its lowest level in a year though the unemployment rate dropped to a point not seen in nearly 50 years, according to Labor Department figures released Friday.

Nonfarm payrolls rose just 134,000, well below Refinitiv estimates of 185,000 and the worst performance since last September, when a labor strike weighed on the numbers. The unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 3.7 percent, the lowest level since December 1969 and one-tenth of a percentage point below expectations.

A separate measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding jobs part-time for economic reasons — sometimes called the "real unemployment rate" — edged higher to 7.5 percent.

Unemployment among black Americans declined three-tenths of a point to 6 percent, slightly above its record low of 5.9 percent achieved in May.

The closely watched average hourly earnings component showed a 2.8 percent year-over-year increase, in line with Wall Street estimates. The average work week was unchanged at 34.5 hours.

"The labor market is in excellent shape heading into the end of 2018, perhaps the best it has been in 50 years," said Gus Faucher, chief economist at PNC. "Job growth was a bit softer in September, but some of that was from Hurricane Florence, and it should bounce back through the rest of 2018 and into 2019."

After the report, the 10-year Treasury yield climbed to the highest in seven years. Stock indexes edged higher at the open.


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