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Job Market Bounces Back

The economy adds 110,000 workers, and August is revised higher to show a gain.

Updated from 8:50 a.m. EDT

The U.S. economy added 110,000 workers last month, and the data for July and August were revised higher, easing for the moment at least the worst concerns about the health of the job market.

On average, economists polled by

Bloomberg

were looking for an increase of 100,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate rose to 4.7% from 4.6%, as analysts expected, the government said Friday.

The real surprise was the revision to August, which now shows a gain of 89,000 jobs, mostly because of the government sector. Initially, the Labor Department said 4,000 jobs were lost that month. For July, 93,000 workers joined payrolls, up from the 68,000 previously reported.

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Employment data have been subject to sometimes sizable alterations in recent months, and of course September's numbers could be changed higher or lower in coming reports.

From June to September, employment growth averaged 90,000 a month. By comparison, during the first five months of the year, about 147,000 workers were added each month.

Several service-providing industries gained jobs in September, while manufacturing and construction employment continued to decline. Health care again added jobs, as did food services.

Employment in the financial activities area edged down. Despite a gain of 6,000 jobs in commercial banks, credit intermediation lost 12,000 workers.

Manufacturing employment decreased by 18,000 in September, and over the year, the sector has lost 223,000 jobs. In construction, residential specialty trade contractors shed 15,000 jobs last month and have lost a total of 160,000 since February 2006.

Average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers increased by 7 cents, or 0.4%, last month.