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US Economy Adds Fewer Jobs Than Expected; Consumer Confidence Down

U.S. employers added 51,000 jobs last month, the fewest in almost a year. But the nation's unemployment rate dropped slightly.

The Labor Department said Friday that these new job figures are further evidence that the U.S. economy is slowing.

Analysts had predicted more than twice as many new jobs would be created in September. But the 51,000 figure is the lowest since last October, when the economy was still reeling from the effects of the devastating hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.

The nation's unemployment rate in September was 4.6 percent, down from 4.7 percent in August.

A widely used indicator of U.S. consumer confidence (Ipsos poll) has fallen back slightly from its recent seven-month high. Officials say the fallback has occurred despite lower gasoline prices and rising stock market prices.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.