US job growth misses expectations, offers cautionary note for Fed
WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - Job growth in the United States was less than expected last month and the unemployment rate hit a 4-1/2 year low as Americans gave up the search for work, complicating the Federal Reserve's decision on whether to scale back its massive monetary stimulus later this month.
Non-farm payrolls increased 169,000 last month, the Labour Department said on Friday, adding to signs that US economic growth might have slowed a bit in the third quarter. The unemployment rate fell to 7.3 per cent, the lowest since December 2008.
US financial markets took the generally weak report as a sign the Fed was less likely to make an announcement on the future of its bond buying programme at its meeting this month.
"Even the Federal Reserve would conclude that the employment trend is moderating and for that reason alone they probably will have second thoughts about tapering bond purchases this month,"said Mr Cary Leahey, a senior adviser at Decision Economics in New York.