US Unemployment Rate Falls to 50-year Low of 3.5%

October 4, 2019 Updated: October 4, 2019

The U.S. unemployment rate fell in September to a new five-decade low of 3.5 percent, while employers added a modest 136,000 jobs.

The September unemployment rate fell from 3.7 percent in August. The average hourly wages slipped by a penny. Hourly pay rose 2.9 percent from a year earlier, lower than 3.4 percent at the beginning of the year, the Labor Department said Friday in its monthly jobs report.

Recent job gains have averaged 157,000 in the past three months, enough to absorb new job seekers and potentially lower unemployment over time.

The September jobs report is likely to keep the Federal Reserve on track to cut rates later this month for the third time this year to try to help sustain the expansion.

The unemployment rate for Latinos fell to 3.9 percent, the lowest on records dating from 1973.

Non-farm payrolls increased by 136,000 jobs last month, the government said. August data was revised to show 168,000 jobs created instead of the previously reported 130,000 positions.

The initial August job count was probably held back by a seasonal quirk related to students leaving their summer jobs and returning to school. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls would increase by 145,000 jobs in September.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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