WASHINGTON - US nonfarm payroll employment edged up by 103,000 jobs in September, but unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent for the third straight month, reported the Labor Department on Friday.
The increase in employment partially reflected the return to payrolls of about 45,000 telecommunications workers who had been on strike since August, said the department.
In September, job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and construction.
Employment in professional and business services added 48,000 jobs across different sectors over the month and has grown by 897,000 since a recent low in September 2009.
Health care employment continued to expand last month, with an increase of 44,000. Construction employment increased by 26,000, after showing little movement since February.
Manufacturing employment trimmed 13,000 in September and has been essentially flat for the past two months.
However, governments continue to cut 34,000 jobs last month due to spending cuts. The US Postal Service lost another 5,000 jobs. Local government employment declined by 35,000 and has fallen by 535,000 since September 2008.
The US unemployment rate edged down to 9.1 percent in July from 9.2 percent in June, after ticking up for three consecutive months through June.
The total number of unemployed Americans slightly increased to 14 million from 13.967 million in August, almost double the level prior to the recession.
In September, the number of long-term unemployed who have been jobless for at least 27 weeks rose to 6.2 million from 6 million in August, accounting for 44.6 percent of the total unemployed, not far off a record high of 45.6 percent in May 2010, evidence of a still bleak job market.