WASHINGTON: A dim view of the job market emerged Tuesday with a report that employers cut back on hiring in September just before a partial government shutdown began.
Just 148,000 jobs were added last month, a steep drop from August’s gain, though they were enough to lower unemployment to 7.2 percent from 7.3 percent in August. The report bolsters expectations that the Federal Reserve will maintain its pace of bond purchases.
The September jobs report had been delayed 2½ weeks by the shutdown. Temporary layoffs during the 16-day shutdown will probably depress October’s job gain. That means a clear picture of the job market won’t emerge before November jobs figures are issued in December.
Average job growth has fallen sharply. The economy added an average of 143,000 jobs a month from July through September. That was down from the 182,000 average gain from April through June and well below the 207,000 pace from January through March.