US private-sector employers hired the fewest number of workers in six months in October while tepid domestic demand kept inflation benign last month.
The figures suggest the economy was still in need of stimulus from the Federal Reserve.
Employers in the vast private sector added 130,000 new jobs to their payrolls this month, the ADP National Employment Report showed today.
That was the lowest reading since April and was below economists' expectations for a gain of 150,000 jobs.
September's private payrolls gains were revised down to 145,000 from the previously reported 166,000 jobs.
The report, jointly developed with Moody's Analytics, suggested that the 16-day government shutdown early in the month had weighed on an already struggling labor market.
Private jobs growth slowed for the fourth month in a row this month, according to ADP data. Average monthly jobs growth has fallen below 150,000, which if sustained would make it difficult for the unemployment rate to fall further.
In a separate report, the Labor Department said its consumer price index increased 0.2% last month as energy prices rebounded, after edging up 0.1% in August.
In the 12 months up to September, the CPI increased 1.2%, the smallest gain since April. Economists polled by Reuters had expected consumer prices to rise 0.2% last month and increase 1.2% from a year ago.
The weak labour market picture and benign inflation environment should allow the Fed to stay the course on its monthly bond purchases as it tries to stimulate the economy through low interest rates. The Fed targets 2% inflation, although it tracks a gauge that tends to run a bit below the CPI.
Stripping out the volatile energy and food components, the so-called core CPI nudged up 0.1%, rising by the same margin for a second consecutive month. That took the increase over the past 12 months to 1.7% after rising 1.8% in August.
This measure touched a two-year low of 1.6% in June and the slowdown last month could catch the attention of some Fed officials who are concerned about inflation being too low.
Last month, inflation was lifted by a 0.8% rise in energy, which accounted for about half of the rise in the CPI. Energy prices had dropped 0.3% in August. Food prices were flat in September - the weakest reading since May.