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The job market was stunningly strong in September

A customer walks by a "Now Hiring" sign posted in front of a store in Novato, Calif., on April 7, 2023.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images
A customer walks by a "Now Hiring" sign posted in front of a store in Novato, Calif., on April 7, 2023.

The job market is proving to be far stronger than expected.

Hiring unexpectedly surged last month, as U.S. employers added 336,000 jobs, much stronger than the around 170,000 jobs that forecasters had expected.

That's good news for people looking for work but could complicate the Federal Reserve's efforts to curb inflation.

Job gains for July and August were also revised substantially higher. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate last month held steady at 3.8%.

All in all, the data showcases a labor market that continues to defy expectations, with big job gains in health care, hospitality and education.

Factories and construction companies also continued to add workers, despite the strain of high interest rates.

While the tight job market could be worrisome for the Fed, policymakers are likely to be encouraged by the slowdown in wage growth to 4.2% in September from a year ago.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit

Scott Horsley is NPR's Chief Economics Correspondent. He reports on ups and downs in the national economy as well as fault lines between booming and busting communities.
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