After a week in which the stock market suffered from motion sickness and presidential tweets caused trade tensions to flare, a weaker-than-expected jobs report may have disappointed some quarters.
But faulty forecasts do not mean that the labor market has suddenly stalled. For the 98th month in a row, employers increased payrolls and monthly job gains are still averaging above 200,000 this year.
"It's obviously an economy that is well in expansion mode but that is coming off the boil after a strong second and third quarter," said David Donabedian, chief investment officer of CIBC Private Wealth Management. "So the state of the job market is good. It's just that the pace of job creation is slowing a little bit."
Yearly wage growth remained at 3.1 percent for the second month in a row, a level not seen since the recession. "If you have solid wage growth while productivity is improving, that is the best of both worlds," Donabedian said.
Friday's report is unlikely to discourage policymakers at the Federal Reserve from raising benchmark interest rates when they meet Dec. 18 and 19.
Nonetheless, the report is being seen as a warning flag on some fronts.
The recent volatility in the stock market and an increase in the monthly average number of people applying for unemployment benefits has worried people, said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG.
General Motors said last month that it would idle five plants and cut about 14,000 jobs in North America in part because of a slowdown in auto sales. In October, Ford announced plans to trim its workforce.
Still, Rupkey labeled the report "pretty darn good" and said it should help calm the markets.
Uncertainty about trade policy is the primary source of anxiety.
"The ball is in the president's court to make sure the China deal is still on," he said. "That is the biggest impediment now."
In the meantime, the labor market is mostly delivering. The unemployment rate and new claims for jobless benefits are at or near record lows. And the average monthly increase in payrolls this year is more than enough to keep the jobless rate below 4 percent.
"People who are working in finance are looking at the stock market," said Martha Gimbel, research director at the job search site Indeed. "The typical worker just wants to find a good job with hours and rising wages."
That search has been getting easier and easier.
Gimbel said sectors that have had a particularly hard time hiring — like nursing and retailing — are now posting more full-time than part-time jobs, a sign that employers are struggling to find workers.
"Even now," she added, "at this point in the recovery, one of the fastest-growing jobs search terms on Indeed is people looking for 'full-time work.' "
The labor shortage has also finally started benefiting workers who were hit hardest during the recession.
Gartner, a research and consulting firm that conducts a quarterly survey of 20,000 employees at companies valued at $100 million or more, found that most workers were extremely optimistic about their ability to find new jobs.
At the same time, years of sluggish wage growth and fewer opportunities for advancement have made some workers dissatisfied with their current employers.