It fell from 3.9 per cent in August to 3.7 per cent in September, the lowest since December 1969, the Department of Labor's employment situation report showed today.
The employment rate in the leisure and hospitality fields showed little change in September, a contrast from the modest upward trend that had been in place before last month, the Labor Department said.
Economists expected only a marginal impact on payrolls from Hurricane Florence, which lashed South and North Carolina in mid-September.
Hourly pay edged up 0.3 percent for the month, and is 2.8 percent higher than the same month a year ago, a notch above inflation.
That higher pay is likely to trim corporate profit margins, however.
This week, markets have been shaken by higher U.S. Treasury yields as the 10-year yield cracked above 3.2% for the first time since 2011 and the 30-year Long Bond hit its highest level in four years.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said on Tuesday that the economy's outlook was "remarkably positive" and he believed it was on the cusp of a "historically rare" era of ultra-low unemployment and tame inflation.
Exports of goods and services fell 0.8 percent to US$209.4 billion in August. Over the course of this year, recruiters have been more open to job candidates they may before have overlooked, such as those with criminal histories.
While Florence probably affected the figures during the month, hiring may settle into a more sustainable pace after a strong run that has pushed the economy closer to full employment. Those numbers are not adjusted for inflation, which has been eating into wage gains over the past several months as the Federal Reserve has hiked interest rates in response to a strengthening economy. Measures of consumer confidence are at or near their highest levels in 18 years.
Americans have continued spending steadily and appear to be in generally stable financial shape.
"Even though storm effects will be limited by the fact that the hurricane hit relatively late in the survey period, we think they will be enough to bias the workweek down and increase hourly earnings", said Lou Crandall, chief economist at Wrightson ICAP in Jersey City, New Jersey. Average hourly earnings climbed 2.8% from a year earlier, matching projections, while the jobless rate fell more than projected to 3.7%, the lowest since 1969.
The economy does show some weak spots. Sales of existing homes have fallen over the past year. The United States and China had already imposed tariffs on $50bn worth of each other's goods. Most U.S. businesses will try to absorb the higher costs themselves, at least for now, economists say, and avoid layoffs.
That run has added almost 20 million people to the nation's payrolls since the Great Recession, which cost almost 9 million their jobs.
Still, should the tariffs remain fully in effect a year from now, roughly 300,000 jobs could be lost by then, according to estimates by Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.