The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate dipped to 3.5 percent, the Labor Department said Friday.
Economists had expected the economy to add 250,000 jobs and the unemployment rate to hold steady at 3.7 percent. The range of forecasts by economists surveyed by Econoday was between a gain on payrolls of 220,000 to 340,000. On unemployment, the range of forecasts was for 3.6 percent to 3.7 percent.
The Labor Department’s Job Opening and Labor Turnover Survey showed that there were 10.1 million job openings at the end of August, around 1.7 vacancies for every unemployed person.
The demand for labor from employers has proven extremely resilient, adding to payrolls and vacancies even as the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates up at a rapid pace, raising the fed funds rate at every meeting since March.
The labor force participation rate slipped slightly to 62.3 percent, down a tick from 62.4 percent in August.
The average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 10 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $32.46. Compared with a year ago, average hourly earnings have increased by 5.0 percent. Economists had forecast a 0.3 percent monthly gain and a 5.1 percent annual gain.