Employers added a meager 142,000 jobs in September, the government said Friday. And the average job gain for each of the past three months - 167,000 - is well below the 231,000 average for the previous three.
Companies have posted a record number of job openings just when a diminished proportion of Americans are either working or looking for work.
Wal-Mart laid off 450 workers at its headquarters Friday as the world's largest retailer attempts to become more nimble so that it can better compete with the likes of Amazon.com.
Orders to U.S. factories fell in August by the largest amount in eight months, led by a drop in demand for commercial airplanes and weakness in a key category that tracks business investment spending.
Chick-fil-A will open an outpost in New York City on Saturday, marking a high-profile milestone in its push to become a bigger national player.
U.S. employers cut back sharply on hiring in September and added fewer jobs in July and August than previously thought - a sour note for a labor market that had been steadily improving.
Coca-Cola will tweak the labeling for Vitaminwater to settle a lawsuit that it was making misleading health claims about the drinks.
Applications for unemployment benefits rose last week, but Americans are seeking jobless aid at historically low levels consistent with a healthy job market.
Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates eased slightly this week, continuing at low levels that could entice potential homebuyers.