The economy's labor market weakened in October, adding only 116,000 jobs, the Labor Department said Thursday. The unemployment rate remained at 4.6 percent.
The report's release was scheduled for Friday at 8:30 a.m. Eastern, but much of it was inadvertently released early on the Bureau of Labor Statistics Internet site. The government then released the entire report Thursday afternoon after it became generally disseminated.
The Labor Department mounted an immediate investigation into the cause of the early release of the sensitive information.
Katharine Abraham, head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, said the inadvertent early release was "obviously unacceptable." She said the BLS would take steps to make sure it never happened again.
Wall Street economists were expecting the addition of about 200,000 new jobs in October. The bond market initially rallied on the jobs report but later retreated on comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan and concerns about absorbing the $10 billion in new 30-year Treasurys auctioned on Thursday.
September's job growth wasn't quite as weak as originally reported; the government revised payroll growth in September to 157,000 from 69,000.
The report gave little reason to worry about upward wage pressure. Average hourly earnings rose 1 cent to $12.88.
The goods-producing industries shed 38,000 jobs in October, with 52,000 jobs lost in manufacturing alone. The weakness in manufacturing is no surprise; the sector has lost an average of 24,300 jobs a month for the past six months as weak demand from Asia has slowed output just as productivity gains are allowing manufacturers to produce the same amount of goods with fewer workers.
Primary and fabricated metals lost 11,000 jobs in October after shedding 4,000 in September. Metals have been devastated by sinking commodity prices and intense competition. Steel makers have complained that foreign producers are dumping steel into the U.S. market.
The slowdown in the labor market is also beginning to affect the service sector, which represents the bulk of the economy. Services added 154,000 jobs in October, about 60 percent of the average gain over the past six months.
The retail sector lost 10,000 jobs after gaining 63,000 in September. General-merchandise stores lost 28,000 jobs, and apparel stores lost 13,000 jobs, a sign that consumer spending may be slowing.
The finance sector continued its growth, adding 25,000 jobs, about twice its recent pace.
Help-supply services, which had lost 44,000 jobs in September, gained 5,000 jobs in October.
Written By Rex Nutting, Washington bureau chief for CBS MarketWatch