Employers added 263,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 3.5%, in line with expectations that job growth would slow during the month.
Still, the pace of hiring was slightly higher than predictions.
The biggest job gains were in leisure, hospitality and health care, according to figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To tame inflation, the Federal Reserve has been trying to slow the economy by raising interest rates, moves that risk sending the U.S. into a recession.
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Average hourly earnings in the private, nonfarm sector rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $32.36.
Employment in movies and recording industries rose slightly to 444,400, up 5,200 jobs from the previous month. Broadcasting jobs fell slightly, to 234,100, off by about 1,000 jobs. Performing arts and sports employment rose by 2,500 jobs, to 492,900.
Jason Furman, the Harvard professor who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, said that the latest numbers were what “was mostly predicted.” He noted on Twitter that there was some slowing of wage growth, and that the drop in unemployment reflected the tighter labor market.
“This is an economy that’s still growing nicely,” wrote Justin Wolfers, professor at the University of Michigan. “All that recession talk was empty.”
He suggested that the figures were in line with the Fed’s goals — to slow the economy but with a “soft landing.” “That’s not a promise that the next few months will follow that soft landing script. It might; it might not. But right now [Fed Chairman] Jay Powell and his colleagues have to be feeling pretty happy.”
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