Economy Adds Jobs, Slowly

A fresh government report shows the economy added jobs last month, though at a slower pace than expected. The Labor Department says businessess added just 51,000 jobs to their payrolls. But the unemployment rate — set by a separate survey — fell a tenth of a percent to 4.6 percent.

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Some new numbers out this morning show the economy added job last month, though at a slower pace than expected. The Labor Department says businesses added just 51,000 jobs to their payrolls last month. The unemployment rate, set by a separate survey, did fall 1/10 of a percent, to 4.6. NPR's Jack Speer reports.

JACK SPEER: If an economy is measured just by the number of jobs it adds, last month won't go down as a strong month. A number of new jobs added was well below the 120,000 most analysts have been expecting. The government says jobs growth in September was the weakest it's been in nearly a year.

However, Standard & Poor's chief economist David Wyss says there's more the story than that.

Mr. DAVID WYSS (Chief Economist, Standard & Poor's): Extremely weak employment number, a gain of only about 51,000 jobs. It's somewhat ameliorated by the fact they did revise August up pretty sharply, from 128,000 up to 188,000 new jobs. So take the two together, it's about where we thought it's was going to be.

SPEER: The government also revised upwards its July jobs numbers. Stewart Hoffman is chief economist with P&C Financial. He says taken as a whole, the last three months shown economy that has slowed but does not appear headed for recession.

Mr. STEWART HOFFMAN (Chief Economist, P&C Financial): I don't see that in this data. There is that concern. But you know, creating this number of jobs, adjusted for revisions, over 100,000, with wages going up, doesn't seem to me as though the wheels are coming off the economy.

SPEER: The unemployment rate last month fell to 4.6% because more adults left the labor force than entered it. Jack Speer, NPR News, Washington.

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