The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added 156,000 jobs in September, falling slightly below expectations but adding to recent evidence that the jobs market is solid. Economists had predicted payrolls to increase by about 172,000, just under the 2016 average of 180,000 per month. Unemployment ticked up to 5 percent — analysts had expected it to stay put at 4.9 percent — as more Americans returned to the labor market. The news came a day after the Labor Department said U.S. jobless claims fell last week to nearly their lowest level since 1973. In the week of Sept. 25 to Oct. 1, 249,000 Americans filed for unemployment benefits for the first time, fewer than expected and down 5,000 from the previous week. Together, the reports were not expected to alter expectations that the Federal Reserve will decide the economy is healthy enough to raise interest rates soon.