Employers added just 150,000 jobs in the US last month, as the economy slowed under the weight of strikes and high interest rates.
The gains were smaller than predicted, helping to push up the unemployment rate to 3.9% from 3.8% in September.
The Labor Department report suggested that America’s long streak of stronger-than-expected job gains may be over.
The US central bank has raised interest rates sharply since last year to try to cool the economy and stabilise prices.
But the job market had remained far more robust than expected in the face of higher borrowing costs.
Over the last year, employers have added on average more than 250,000 jobs per month.
October marked the weakest month for job creation since June, while pay gains also slowed.
Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 4.1%.
Hiring by healthcare firms and the government drove the gains in October.
The number of manufacturing jobs declined by about 35,000, of which roughly 33,000 reflected the impact of a major strike by the United Auto Workers union, the Labor Department said.