Consumer Comeback Blog

Unemployment Rate Falls to 7.8%, Economy Adds 114,000 New Jobs

Prepare to hear some version the following numbers bandied about in nearly every political conversation until November. As a critical issue driving the election, unemployment may be powerfully influential at the polls.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the September unemployment rate dropped .3% to 7.8%, the lowest point since January of 2009. This decrease brings the number of total unemployed Americans down 456,000 in September to 12.1 million.

Short-term unemployment showed a modest decline, as the number of persons out of work for more than five weeks fell by 302,000, but the number jobless for more than 27 weeks remained the same at 4.8 million. A survey of businesses showed that employers hired 114,000 new workers, exceeding expectations by 100,000. Bureau of Labor Statistics data also revealed that 86,000 more people found jobs in July and August than previously reported.

New jobs were most plentiful in the healthcare, transportation, and warehousing. Transportation and warehousing added 17,000 new jobs. Healthcare added 44,000 jobs in September, bringing the total new healthcare jobs to 295,000 in the past year.

Temporary jobs were down 2,000, but many retailers begin hiring seasonal help more aggressively in October, and manufacturing jobs decreased for a second month in a row. Fueled by the new home construction and record low mortgage rates, jobs in construction also increased 5,000. The government hired 10,000 in September, a modest follow to the 45,000 increase in August.

Those who were added to payrolls were also earning a smidge more than workers last month. Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 7 cents to $23.58, and average private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees increased by 5 cents to $19.81.