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Opinion
Brian Chappatta

Jobs Disappoint But Still Clear Fed’s Low Taper Bar

The U.S. added 194,000 workers in September, again missing estimates but not by enough to alarm the central bank.

It would have taken an unexplained labor market contraction to change the Fed’s mind.

It would have taken an unexplained labor market contraction to change the Fed’s mind.

Photographer: Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve will almost certainly announce its plan to begin reducing its bond purchases next month. But the U.S. labor market definitely isn’t making it easy for it.

U.S. employers added 194,000 workers in September, far short of the median estimate of a 500,000 gain in a Bloomberg survey of economists. August’s increase of 235,000 jobs was revised higher to 366,000, but that’s still less than half of the 733,000 forecast at the time. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate tumbled to 4.8%, compared with expectations for a dip to 5.1%, meaning it’s already in line with Fed officials’ median estimate for the end of the year.