The country’s economy grew by 114,000 jobs last month, causing the national unemployment rate to fall from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent, according to new data released today by the U.S. Labor Department.
In addition, the jobs reports for the two previous months — July and August — were revised upwards a total of 88,000.
The 7.8 rate is the lowest it’s been since January 2009, a figure that should bode well for President Obama as he seeks to assure voters that his policies have put the country on the road to recovery.
According to the new data, the healthcare, transportation and warehousing sectors experienced the most gains, with manufacturing essentially holding steady. Hourly wages increased seven cents, and are up 1.8 percent overall in the past year.
Yet, challenges remain. 12.1 million Americans are still out of work, and another 8.6 million are working part-time because they’ve been unable to find full-time work. 4.8 million of those who are unemployed have been so for 27 weeks or longer.
The report also found that:
“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.0 percent), and whites (7.0 percent) declined over the month. The unemployment rates for teenagers (23.7 percent), blacks (13.4 percent), and Hispanics (9.9 percent) were little changed. The jobless rate for Asians, at 4.8 percent, fell over the year.”
The U-6 rate, which more broadly measures unemployment by also taking into account people who have given up looking for work or are working part-time, climbed down to 14.7, a decrease of 1.7 percent since this time last year. Expect GOP candidate Mitt Romney, however, to make some reference to this going forward now that his eight percent unemployment talking point has been disabled.
Looking ahead to the November 6 elections, the September report is the second to last before voters head to the polls.