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Last Updated: Friday, 6 October 2006, 12:51 GMT 13:51 UK
US jobs figures reveal slowdown
GM production line in Michigan
Manufacturing has been an area of weakness
The US economy added 51,000 jobs last month, far below analyst expectations, in another signal of slowing growth.

The rise in non-farm payrolls was the weakest monthly increase since October 2005, which followed Hurricane Katrina.

The US economy has slowed markedly in the second half of the year, and the once red-hot housing market has cooled.

This has led to speculation that the US Federal Reserve, which recently paused its two-year cycle of interest rates rises, could now cut rates next year.

'Underperforming'

Experts had expected the economy to add 125,000 jobs last month but the figures, from the Department of Labor, were well below this.

Despite the disappointing statistics, the overall monthly unemployment rate actually fell marginally from 4.7% to 4.6%.

Last month's figures contrast with job additions of 188,000 in August and 123,000 in July.

University of Maryland economist Peter Morici said the latest figures were a clear sign of slowing growth.

"Sub par jobs and wages growth indicates the economy is slowing significantly, and underperforming its potential," he said.


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