Job growth has been solid this year, but it's unclear if that's sustainable given the anemic pace of economic growth. That further muddles the outlook for winding down monetary stimulus.
Typically, gross domestic product rises faster than payrolls. Productivity gains allow employers to boost output somewhat before bringing in new staff.
But in the last several quarters, the reverse has generally held.
In Q4 2012, payrolls rose at a 1.6% annual rate even though GDP barely eked out a 0.4% rise. In the first three months of 2013, jobs gains slightly outpaced economic growth of 1.8%. In Q2, payrolls rose 1.8%, but analysts have been slashing GDP growth targets to around 1%.