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Job gains miss expectations, unemployment rate hits 49-year low

Myles Udland
Markets Reporter

The U.S. unemployment rate is at a historic low.

The September jobs report released Friday morning showed the U.S. economy added 134,000 jobs during the month while the unemployment rate fell to a new generational low of 3.7%. This is the lowest unemployment rate since December 1969.

Nonfarm payrolls were forecast to rise by 185,000 in September while the unemployment rate was expected to drop to 3.8%, according to estimates from Bloomberg.

The unemployment rate in September fell to 3.7%, its lowest level since December 1969. (Source: BLS)

Wages were also being closely tracked in Friday’s report and these numbers were in-line with expectations. Average hourly earnings rose 0.3% over last month in September and 2.8% over the prior year.

The shadows of supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump are seen on an American Flag at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., September 20, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

This week, markets have been shaken by higher U.S. Treasury yields as the 10-year yield cracked above 3.2% for the first time since 2011 and the 30-year Long Bond hit its highest level in four years.

Following this report, stock futures were lower, but little-changed, while Treasury yields were still near their highs of the week with the 10-year Treasury sitting near 3.21% and the 30-year near 3.38%.

August’s job gains were also revised significantly higher in Friday’s report, with the BLS now estimating the economy created 270,000 jobs in August, 69,000 more than previously estimated. Over the last three months, job gains have averaged 190,000 per month.

Ahead of the report, Spencer Hill, an economist at Goldman Sachs, said that Hurricane Florence, which impacted the Carolinas in mid-September, were likely to weigh on Friday’s headline job gains, and a 17,000 job drop in the leisure & hospitality industry shows signs of an impact from the storm.

In its release, the BLS said that response rates to its employment surveys “were within normal ranges,” indicating it saw limited impacts from Florence.

In Friday’s report the broader underemployment rate, which counts folks who are out of work as well as those working part-time but who would prefer full-time work, rose slightly to 7.5% from 7.4% in August. The labor force participation rate was unchanged in September at 62.7%.

Following Friday’s release Michael Pearce, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said the report is likely to affirm the Fed’s plans to continue raising interest rates gradually, adding that wage is now on track to climb above 3% by the end of 2018.

Myles Udland is a writer at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @MylesUdland