Job creation edged lower in September as the labor market showed there still may be room to run.
Nonfarm payrolls increased 156,000 for the month and the unemployment rate ticked up to 5 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected 176,000 new jobs and the jobless rate to hold at 4.9 percent. The total was a decline from the upwardly revised 167,000 jobs in August (compared with the original number of 151,000).
"This is within the broad range of expectations," said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. "The main point is, slow and steady does win the race for this recovery, which began in the summer of 2009."
Average hourly wages pushed higher, rising 6 cents to an annualized rate of 2.6 percent. The average work week also inched up one-tenth to 34.4 hours.