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US unemployment rate falls to near 49-year low

The U.S. unemployment rate fell more than expected in September, though wage growth and job gains came in below estimates, data from the U.S. Labor Department showed.

The jobless rate fell to 3.7% last month from 3.9% in August, marking its lowest level since December 1969. Econoday had predicted that the rate would fall to 3.8%.

Average hourly earnings rose 0.4%, or 8 cents, month over month. In annual terms, hourly wages gained 2.8%, or 73 cents, slightly down from the August reading and Econoday's consensus estimate of a 2.9% increase.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 134,000 jobs, lower than the Econoday consensus estimate of 180,000 new jobs.

Job gains for July and August were revised up to 165,000 and 270,000, respectively.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Oct. 2 that the U.S. could be at a "unique" time in its history when record low unemployment is not accompanied by high inflation.

The Fed's preferred inflation gauge rose 2.0% year over year in August, matching the central bank's target for the second month in a row.

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