160,000 seen over the past six months.
"It's more than enough over time to keep the unemployment rate coming down," said Jim O'Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, New York. "Overall, the economy is chugging along, but we have to see how the whole budget saga affects the trend."
The unemployment rate has declined 0.6 percentage point so far this year, though some of the decrease has been because people are dropping out of the labor force, partly due to frustration over dim job prospects.
The pattern of employment gains in September is expected to mirror the prior months, with the private sector creating all the jobs.
Government payrolls are expected to have been unchanged after increasing by 17,000 in August. Economists attributed some of the rise in August to difficulties adjusting for seasonal fluctuations at the start of the new school year.
Within the private sector, a rebound is expected in employment in the information sector, which dropped by 18,000 in August as the motion picture industry shed workers.
Little change is expected in construction payrolls, which have been weak in recent months, suggesting a leveling off in home building.
Manufacturing probably saw modest job gains, while retail employment is expected to have again advanced solidly.
Other details of the employment report are expected to be fairly encouraging, with average hourly earnings rising 0.2 percent in September. The length of the average workweek was seen steady at 34.5 hours.