Only a relatively low 130,000 jobs were added to private employers' payrolls in October and the labor market in September was even weaker than first thought, according to the latest data from the ADP National Employment Report.
That survey from the payroll processing firm and economists at Moody's Analytics signals that "the government shutdown and debt limit brinksmanship hurt the already softening job market in October," Moody's chief economist Mark Zandi says in the report.
Evidence that the job market was already stumbling includes a revision to ADP's estimate for September. A month ago, it forecast that private employers had added 166,000 jobs to their payrolls that month. Now, it says there were only 145,000 more jobs than in August.
The past two months' gains are tiny in comparison to the size of the nation's civilian labor force: nearly 156 million.
The ADP report is something of a barometer for the also widely watched monthly employment report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That agency's estimates of the October unemployment rate and payroll growth during the month won't be released until Nov. 8.
Wednesday's other economic news:
-- BLS says consumer prices rose just 0.2 percent in September from August. Over the past year, prices have gone up just 1.2 percent.
The September consumer price index report triggers the following year's cost-of-living adjustment in Social Security benefits. Next year's increase: 1.5 percent.
-- Federal Reserve policymakers finish up a two-day meeting in Washington, and at 2 p.m. ET are scheduled to issue their latest statement about the health of the economy and their plans going forward. Financial markets have rallied in recent days on the expectation that the Fed will not begin scaling back its efforts to boost the economy by purchasing billions of dollars worth of bonds each month.
After the 2 p.m. announcement, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to take questions from reporters.