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U.S. employers added 336,000 jobs during September, significantly more than expected, and the national unemployment rate held steady at 3.8%, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday. 

Hiring in September was significantly above the revised numbers for both July (236,000) and August (227,000) and exceeded the average monthly gain of 267,000 for the prior 12 months. 

Job gains in September occurred mostly in leisure and hospitality (+96,000); government (+73,000); healthcare (+41,000); professional, scientific, and technical services (+29,000); and social assistance (+25,000).  

The robust hiring report makes it more likely the Federal Reserve Board will continue its efforts to cool the economy with further interest rate hikes. On Wall Street, the stock market initially fell on Friday morning following the release of the September employment report. Meanwhile, the yield on 10-year Treasury bonds climbed to 4.8%, its highest level since 2007. 

Other news in the employment report included a 0.2% increase in wages in September to an average of $33.88 per hour. Over the past 12 months, average wages have increased by 4.2%. 

The unemployment rate held at 3.8% in September with the number of unemployed essentially unchanged at 6.4 million. The number of long-term unemployed (those without a job for 27 weeks or more) was also little changed at 1.2 million in September. The long-term unemployed account for 19.1% of all unemployed. 

Both the labor force participation rate (62.8%) and the employment-population ratio (60.4%) were unchanged over the month of September. 

State-level data for September is expected to be released later this month. In August, New Jersey’s unemployment rate stood at 4.2%, which was 0.4 percentage points above the national jobless rate and among the highest in the nation.