The US economy created 156,000 jobs in September, official figures show, slightly fewer than expected. However, August’s figure was revised higher to 167,000 from 151,000. Both figures are lower than 180,000 average for this year.
The unemployment rate edged up to 5% from 4.9%, although that was due to more people looking for work.
The US Department of Labor said job gains occurred in professional and business services and in health care.
The dollar weakened slightly on the news, but then recovered its ground.
The pace of jobs growth throughout 2016 lags behind that of 2015, when job creation was averaging 229,000 a month.
Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trader IG, said: “At first glance, the non-farm payroll figure looked rather disappointing, given that it missed expectations.
“However, for an economy near full employment, a 156,000 print is not at all bad, while the rise in the overall unemployment rate was easily countered by an increase in the labour force participation figure, plus an improvement in earnings. All in all, it wasn’t a bad report, and helps to burnish the case for a rate rise by the end of this year.”
But James Athey, investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management, said the jobs report would be seen as a minor disappointment.
He thought the chances of a rate rise may have receded: “It is quite likely that the odds of an interest rate hike in December will be re-priced a tiny bit lower by investors following these numbers, especially given recent market volatility. In reality though attention is far more focused on what might happen come November 8.”