The funny thing about today’s jobs report is that at least one pundit on the GOP side is quite upset over it.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years and giving President Barack Obama a potential boost with the election a month away.
The rate declined from 8.1 percent because the number of people who said they were employed soared by 873,000 – an encouraging sign for an economy that’s been struggling to create enough jobs.
The number of unemployed Americans is now 12.1 million, the fewest since January 2009.
The Labor Department said employers added 114,000 jobs in September. It also said the economy created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than the department had initially estimated.
Wages rose in September. And more people started looking for work.
The revisions show employers added 146,000 jobs per month from July through September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months.
The 7.8 percent unemployment rate for September matches the rate in January 2009, when Obama took office. In the months after Obama’s inauguration, the rate rose sharply and had topped 8 percent for 43 straight months.
The decline in the unemployment rate comes at a critical moment for Obama, who is coming off a weak debate performance this week against GOP challenger Mitt Romney.
The September employment report may be the last that might sway undecided voters. The October jobs report will be released only four days before Election Day.
“An overall better-than-expected jobs report, consistent with most recent data that suggest the economy is gaining some momentum,” said Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, in a note to clients. “The sizeable drop in the unemployment rate could lift the president’s re-election chances following a post-debate dip.”
Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was asked on CNBC about suspicions that the Obama administration might have skewed the jobs numbers to aid Obama’s re-election prospects.
“I’m insulted when I hear that because we have a very professional civil service,” Solis said. “I have the highest regard for our professionals that do the calculations at the (Bureau of Labor Statistics). They are trained economists.”
After the jobs report was released, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 65 points in the first half hour of trading. Broader stock indexes also rose.
- US jobless rate falls to 7.8 pct., 44-month low (newsobserver.com)
- Unemployment rate falls to 7.8% as economy creates 114,000 jobs (economywatch.nbcnews.com)
- U.S. Looks Stronger After Jobless Rate Falls To 7.8% With 114,000 New Jobs (forbes.com)
- Analysis: Jobs report provides political boost for Obama (usatoday.com)
- U.S. jobless rate falls to 7.8%, 44-month low (newsday.com)
- Jobs Report May Mean More to Presidential Race Than Markets (tarpon.wordpress.com)