Unemployment flat as job growth slows in September

The U.S. economy added a disappointing 142,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate stayed at 5.1 percent.

The U.S. economy added a disappointing 142,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate stayed at 5.1 percent, the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

Job gains occurred in health care and information and mining employment fell. The department revised its August figures to show that only 136,000 jobs were added during that month.

The department also said average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls fell by 1 cent, to $25.09, after a 9-cent gain in August.

"You can’t throw lipstick on this pig of a report," Brian Jacobsen, a portfolio strategist at Wells Fargo Funds Management in Menomonee Falls, Wis., told Reuters.

Reuters said the August and September job figures marked the smallest two-month gain in employment in more than a year.

The report raised fresh doubt that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates before the end of the year.

The government said the number of long-term unemployed (those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed, at 2.1 million in September, and they accounted for 26.6 percent of the unemployed.

The civilian labor force participation rate declined to 62.4 percent in September; it had been 62.6 percent for the previous three months.

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) declined by 447,000, to 6 million, in September. These people, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In September, 1.9 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 305,000 from a year earlier. The data are not seasonally adjusted.

These people were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.