The U.S. jobless rate last month dropped to 3.7 percent in September — the lowest since 1969, though the economy added a lower-than-expected 134,000 jobs, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. The jobless rate fell from August’s 3.9 percent.
Wage growth slowed last month, with average hourly earnings up 2.8 percent from a year earlier.
Private economists had forecast that economy would pick up 180,000 jobs in September.
The report reinforced the view of Federal Reserve policymakers, who cited a strong job market when they announced they were increasing a benchmark interest rate — the third hike in a year.
The labor market, the Fed said, “has continued to strengthen and … economic activity has been rising at a strong rate. Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low.” The Fed is forecasting the economy will grow 3.1 percent this year — that’s up from the 2.8 percent it projected in June.