Indicating continued strength in the labor market despite aggressive interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve, the Labor Department released a report on Friday showing employment in the U.S. surged by much more than expected in the month of September.
The Labor Department said non-farm payroll employment shot up by 336,000 jobs in September compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 170,000 jobs.
The closely watched Labor Department report also showed notable upward revisions to job growth in the two previous months.
Employment in August and July jumped by 236,000 jobs and 227,000 jobs, respectively, reflecting a net upward revision of 119,000 jobs.
“Payrolls surged in September with upward revisions underscoring the strength seen in economic activity over the summer,” said ING Chief International Economist James Knightley.
He added, “While we doubt this can last, today’s number keeps alive the prospect of another rate hike and certainly backs the Federal Reserve’s argument on the need for interest rates to stay higher for longer.”
The surge in employment in September reflected broad based growth, with the job gains reported in the leisure and hospitality, government, healthcare, professional, scientific, and technical services and social assistance sectors.
Despite the much stronger than expected job growth, however, the Labor Department said the unemployment rate in September came in unchanged from August at 3.8 percent. The unemployment rate was expected to edge down to 3.7 percent.
The unemployment rate remained unchanged as a 161,570 person increase by the household survey measure of employment was offset by a 167,929 person increase in the size of the labor force.
The Labor Department also said average hourly employee earnings rose by $0.07 or 0.2 percent to $33.88 in September.
The annual rate of wage growth edged down to 4.2 percent in September from 4.3 percent in August, while economists had expected the pace of growth to remain unchanged.