Following a disappointing August, the U.S. economy added a meager 194,000 jobs in September, as a critical shortage of workers hampers the nation’s economic growth.

The unemployment rate fell to 4.8 percent from 5.2 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said Friday. Economists had been expecting an increase of 500,000 and an unemployment rate of 5.1 percent.

Wage growth is a metric on which the market is keeping a sharp eye as it struggles to interpret the noise around skyrocketing prices, supply chain bottlenecks and what, exactly, it means for inflation to be “transitory.”

For most of the pandemic-recession recovery, metrics around earnings and wage growth have been volatile. The dramatic collapse of the leisure and hospitality sector skewed earnings data as millions of low-wage, service-sector workers lost their jobs due to Covid-triggered shutdowns — and some argued that the big miss in August could have been a function of…

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