US Payrolls Disappoint, Dollar Gives Up Early Gains

Payrolls rose less than projected in September, wages stagnated and the jobless rate was unchanged as people left the workforce, signaling the global slowdown and financial-market turmoil are rippling through the world’s largest economy.

The addition of 142,000 jobs followed a revised 136,000 gain the prior month that was lower than previously estimated, a Labor Department report showed Friday in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of 96 economists called for a 201,000 advance. The jobless rate held at 5.1 percent, and wage growth was unchanged.

The weak report vindicates the Federal Reserve’s decision to delay an interest-rate increase last month. Cooling overseas markets, a stronger dollar and lower oil prices that are hampering exports and manufacturing raise the risk that employers will hesitate before taking on more staff.

A weaker-than-expected report “would chip away at confidence about the strength of the expansion,” Ryan Sweet, a senior economist at Moody’s Analytics Inc. in West Chester, Pennsylvania, said before the report. “It may be a signal that there was a knee-jerk reaction by businesses to the market volatility.”

Employers added workers in industries including retailing, education, and leisure and hospitality.

Payroll estimates of 96 economists in the Bloomberg survey ranged from gains of 149,000 to 256,000 after a previously reported 173,000 advance for August.

The unemployment rate, which is derived from a separate Labor Department survey of households, was projected to hold at 5.1 percent, the lowest since 2008, according to the survey median.

Revisions to prior reports cut a total of 59,000 jobs from payrolls in the previous two months.

Private employment, which excludes government agencies, rose by 118,000 after a 100,000 gain the prior month.


Dean Popplewell

Dean Popplewell

Vice-President of Market Analysis at MarketPulse
Dean Popplewell has nearly two decades of experience trading currencies and fixed income instruments. He has a deep understanding of market fundamentals and the impact of global events on capital markets. He is respected among professional traders for his skilled analysis and career history as global head of trading for firms such as Scotia Capital and BMO Nesbitt Burns. Since joining OANDA in 2006, Dean has played an instrumental role in driving awareness of the forex market as an emerging asset class for retail investors, as well as providing expert counsel to a number of internal teams on how to best serve clients and industry stakeholders.
Dean Popplewell