U.S. jobless rate unexpectedly falls to 7.8%; 114,000 jobs added

Posted: October 5, 2012 at 7:37 a.m.

Tyrone Smith and Monika Fogar wait Wednesday for a job interview with the West Los Angeles Orchard Supply Hardware store at the store’s Midtown location in Los Angeles. New claims for unemployment benefits, inflated by the effects of Hurricane Isaac, rose 15,000 in the week that ended Saturday.

The unemployment rate in the U.S. unexpectedly fell to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest since January 2009 as employers took on more part-time workers.

The economy added 114,000 workers last month after a revised 142,000 gain in August that was more than initially estimated, Labor Department figures showed Friday in Washington.

The median estimate of 92 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for an advance of 115,000. The jobless rate dropped from 8.1 percent, and hourly earnings climbed more than forecast.

Improving employment prospects that lead to stronger wage growth provide workers with the wherewithal to boost their spending, helping cushion the economy from a global slowdown. Today’s employment report is the penultimate before the November elections as President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney debate whose policies would best spur job growth.

“The labor market is slowly regaining footing,” Eric Green, global head of rates and foreign-exchange research at TD Securities Inc. in New York, said before the report. “The Federal Reserve wants to see traction, faster growth.”

The unemployment rate, derived from a survey of households, was forecast to rise to 8.2 percent, according to the survey median. Estimates ranged from 8 percent to 8.3 percent.

Read more in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

U.S. unemployment rate falls to 7.8%, a 44-month low

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years.
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