Employers added 148,000 jobs in September and the unemployed rate dipped to 7.2 percent, the government said Tuesday in a report delayed by this month's partial government shutdown.
Mainstream economists had projected job gains in the range of 180,000, so Tuesday's numbers disappointed and suggest the economy was losing steam ahead of the punishing shutdown that sapped consumer confidence.
The unemployment rate in September fell by a tenth of a percentage point to 7.2 percent, the lowest it's been since December 2008, when the nation's financial crisis was in full bloom.
Statisticians at the Bureau of Labor Statistics revised jobs numbers for July and August too. The first read for July, 104,000 jobs, was revised down to 89,000. But August's 169,000 was revised upwards to 193,000.