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U.S. Adds 263,000 Jobs In September, Unemployment Drops to 3.5%

The U.S. economy added 263,000 jobs in September, just below estimates of 275,000.

This number represents a dip from August, which saw 315,000 jobs added, and July, which saw 537,000 jobs added, according to a newly revised figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday.

The unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, with 5.8 million unemployed in September. This was down from August’s rate of 3.7%

Notable job gains were present across leisure and hospitality and health care. Retail employment did not see any notable gains or losses from August. Year to date, monthly job growth has averaged 420,000 compared to the monthly average of 562,000 in 2021.

In the last few weeks, major retailers have announced hiring targets for the holiday season and beyond. While some companies like Target and Kohl’s are staffing for the season similarly to 2021, others such as Walmart, are reducing their goals this year. Some retailers are approaching holiday hiring cautiously as inflation has largely hampered the industry’s success in 2022.

Average hourly earnings rose by 10 cents, or 0.3%, to $32.46 in September. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 5%. Meanwhile, inflation continues to soar while showing some signs of improvement.

Consumer prices increased 8.3% in August from a year ago, down from a 40-year high of 9.1% in June and 8.5% growth in July. September’s consumer price index, which measures inflation, is set to be released next week.

Despite inflation, U.S. retail sales in August were $683.3 billion, according to a monthly report from the U.S. Census Bureau. This marked an increase of 0.3% from the numbers July, which were amended to reflect $681.3 billion. However, sales were up 9.1% compared with August 2021.

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