U.S. job growth continues, but slows

Job growth continues in the United States, albeit at a slowing pace.

According to the latest Labor Department estimates, nonfarm payrolls increased 156,000 in September. The unemployment rate edged up a tenth of a point to 5 percent as more people entered the work force to look for jobs. Average hourly earnings increased.

September payroll gains were the smallest since May and pulled down average monthly gains so far this year to 178,000. In contrast, employers added an average of 229,000 jobs to payrolls each month in 2015.

Initial estimates for job gains in August and July were revised down a total of 7,000. Although the estimate for August increased 16,000 to 167,000, the estimate for July decreased 23,000 to 252,000.

For September, the ranks of the unemployed were littled changed at 7.9 million, with 2 million of those out of work for 27 weeks or longer. Another 5.9 million people were counted among those working part time because their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find full-time positions. The civil labor participation rate rose a half point to 62.9 percent.

Professional and business services added 67,000 jobs, while payrolls in the health care sector increased 33,000. Employment also continued to trend up in food services and drinking places with the addition of 30,000 positions. Retail trades added 22,000 jobs.

Mining payrolls remained unchanged in September after declining 220,000 since a peak two years ago. Manufacturers cut 13,000 jobs.

The average workweek for employees on private, nonfarm payrolls increased a tenth of an hour to 34.4 hours. The manufacturing work week increased a tenth of an hour to 40.7 hours.

Average weekly earnings on private, nonfarm payrolls rose 6 cents to $25.79. During the past year, hourly earnings have increased 2.6 percent.