[WASHINGTON] US employers slammed the brakes on hiring over the last two months and wages fell in September, raising new doubts the economy is strong enough for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates by the end of this year.
Payrolls outside of farming rose by 142,000 last month and August figures were revised sharply lower to show only 136,000 jobs added in August, the Labour Department said on Friday.
That marked the smallest two-month gain in employment in over a year and could fuel fears that the China-led global economic slowdown is sapping America's strength.
US factories are feeling the global chill and shed 9,000 jobs in September after losing 18,000 in August, according to the Labour Department's survey of employers.
The recent pace of job growth should have been enough to push the unemployment rate lower because only around 100,000 new jobs are needed a month to keep up with population growth.
But the jobless rate held steady at 5.1 per cent. The unemployment rate is derived from a separate survey of households that showed 350,000 workers dropping out of the labour force last month, as well as a lower level of employment.
Average hourly wages fell by a cent to US$25.09 during the month and were up only 2.2 per cent from the same month in 2014, pointing to marginal inflationary pressures.