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U.S. nonfarm payrolls increase less than expected in September

The U.S. Labor Department announced on Friday that nonfarm payrolls rose by 661,000 in September after a downwardly revised 1,489,000 advance in the prior month (originally a gain of 1,371,000), reflecting the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it.

According to the report, employment rose sharply in leisure and hospitality (+318,000 jobs), in retail trade (+142,000), in health care and social assistance (+108,000), and in professional and business services (+89,000), but declined significantly in government (-216,000 jobs), mainly in state and local government education.

The unemployment rate fell to 7.9 percent in September from 8.4 percent in August.

Economists had forecast the nonfarm payrolls to increase by 850,000 and the jobless rate to drop to 8.2 percent.

The labor force participation rate decreased by 0.3 percentage point in September to 61.4 percent, while hourly earnings for private-sector workers edged up 0.1 percent m-o-m (or $0.02) to $29.47, following a revised 0.3 percent m-o-m increase in August (originally a gain of 0.4 percent m-o-m). Economists had forecast the average hourly earnings to increase 0.2 percent m-o-m in September. Over the year, average hourly earnings increased by 4.7 percent in September, following a revised 4.6 percent rise in August (originally an increase of 4.7 percent).

The average workweek increased by 0.1 hour to 34.7 hours in September, exceeding economists' forecast for 34.6 hours.

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