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In a separate report on Thursday, the Commerce Department said new orders for US -made goods recorded their biggest increase in almost a year in August, but signs of weakness in business spending on equipment suggested manufacturing could be slowing. Wall Street economists had expected an increase of about 168,000, according to MarketWatch.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast payrolls increasing by 185,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate falling one-tenth of a percentage point to 3.8 percent. August's jobless rate was 3.9 percent.

Average hourly earnings rose 8 cents to $27.24, lowering the annual gain to 2.8 percent from a nine-year high of 2.9 percent in August.

The weakness in payrolls last month is not corroborated by other labor market data. Job growth is set to slow next year as an inability to find workers weighs on hiring.

The last time the American job market was this strong, astronauts were still going to the moon.

"Just out: 3.7 percent Unemployment is the lowest number since 1969!". Job growth has repeatedly defied economists' predictions of a slowdown. For close to two-thirds of the United States population, this is the lowest unemployment rate in their lifetime.

The labor market, the Fed said, "has continued to strengthen and. economic activity has been rising at a strong rate". "These really are the good times". Almost 300,000 workers told the BLS that bad weather kept them away from their jobs, most likely in industries like hospitality in which they're paid only if they show up.

The Trump administration says eliminating the trade deficit will put the economy on a sustainable path of faster growth, an argument that has been dismissed by many economists as flawed given constraints such as low productivity and slow population growth.

The long-awaited pickup may already have begun. Amazon responded on Tuesday by raising its minimum wage to $15 an hour.

If the economy continues to perform, that bodes well for a Federal Reserve interest rate hike for December and two to three more hikes next year, North said. If those concerns mount, the Fed might raise interest rates more quickly than planned, which could bring the recovery to an end. That was not expected to move the needle on last month's wage number but served as a key anecdote on the pressure companies were under - politically and from a tight labour market - to raise wages. Jerome Powell, the Fed chairman, said this week that the economy was good but "not too good to be true". But that figure was likely depressed by the impact of Hurricane Florence.

There were 134,000 new jobs created, with September's storm and catastrophic flooding in the Carolinas likely preventing some businesses from bringing new workers on, and some people from getting to their first day on the job. The second answer: Not as many people are in the labor force, so they aren't counted in the unemployment rate. September's unemployment rate has decreased or remained the same every year since it hit a high of 9.8 percent in 2009.

The data for demographic groups came from a survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs report. About 1.5 million employees worked part-time because of the weather last month.