The U.S. economy added 209,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate ticked down to 3.6 percent.
Economists had forecast employers would grow payrolls by 230,000, a downturn from the preliminary May estimate of 339,000. The unemployment rate was expected to drop to 3.6 percent from the 3.7 percent reported last month.
On Thursday, ADP said the private sector added 497,000 jobs in June, more than twice the consensus forecast. This sent many economists scrambling to raise their estimates for the Department of Labor figure released on Friday.
The labor market has been stronger than expected over a year now, with jobs reports coming in above estimates for 14 straight months. This was the first time the jobs figure undershot expectations in over a year. The Federal Reserve has been trying to cool off demand for workers as part of its efforts to bring inflation back down to its two percent target.
On Thursday, the Labor Department said the number of job openings at the end of May fell to 9.8 million.
There were significant downward revisions to earlier months. The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised down by 77,000, from a gain of 294,000 to 217,000. The May job growth was revised down by 33,000, from 339,000 to 306,000.