The U.S. economy unexpectedly added 57,000 jobs and the unemployment rate held steady at 6.1% in September, making it the first month since January that payrolls didn't contract. The increase was juiced by a big jump in the number of temporary-help workers employed.
The reading was far better than economists' consensus forecast for a loss of about 25,000 jobs and an unemployment rate of 6.2%. It sent stock index futures and government bond yields sharply higher: the
was recently trading about 10 points above fair value while the 10-year note lost more than a point after the data was released to yield 4.12%.
The Labor Department also sharply lowered its tally of jobs lost in August to 41,000 from 93,000.
Most of the additional workers were added in the economy's services sector, which added 74,000 jobs, and retail, which added 10,000 jobs. About 33,000 of the services jobs were in the temporary-help sector. Manufacturing employment fell by 29,000, its smallest contraction in more than a year but still its 38th straight monthly decline.
The reading was particularly unexpected in light of recent increases in the number of people filing for first-time jobless benefits and higher layoffs as tracked by the temporary help firm Challenger Gray.