U.S. unemployment rate falls to 49-year low of 3.7 percent

WASHINGTON — The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.7 percent in September, the lowest level since December 1969, as the longest streak of hiring on record has put millions of Americans back to work since the Great Recession.

The Labor Department says employers added only 134,000 jobs, the fewest in a year, though that figure was likely lowered by Hurricane Florence.

The storm struck North and South Carolina in the middle of September and closed thousands of businesses.

A category that includes restaurants, hotels and casinos lost jobs for the first time since September 2017, when Hurricane Harvey had a similar effect.

Even with unemployment at a historic low, average hourly pay increased just 2.8 percent from a year earlier, one tick below the yearly gain in August.

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