Washington — The U.S. unemployment rate hit 7.8 percent in September, dropping from 8.1 percent the month before and reaching its lowest level since January 2009.
The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly employment report October 5.
“Overall, the monthly drop in the unemployment rate is part of a larger trend that has seen the jobless rate fall by 1.2 percent over the last year,” Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said following the report’s release.
“We saw unemployment drop for every group across the board last month,” Solis said. “The fastest-growing group of new hires was young people ages 20 to 24 — a very encouraging sign for our country’s future.”
The U.S. economy added 114,000 new jobs in September, according to the report. The report said also that the number of unemployed persons, at 12.1 million, decreased by 456,000 during the month.
Additionally, revisions to previous employment reports showed 86,000 more Americans found jobs in July and August than had been previously reported.
“We’ve now added nearly 5.2 million private-sector jobs over 31 straight months of job growth,” Solis said.
Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said the new report “provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”
The report showed notable employment gains in the fields of health care and social assistance; transportation and warehousing; restaurants and bars; financial activities; and professional and business services.
Manufacturing posted job losses, primarily in durable goods.
Solis said the improved jobs outlook is one indication of a strengthening U.S. economy. She said new unemployment insurance claims are down to pre-recession levels, consumer confidence is near a five-year high and the number of people laid off in September was the lowest level ever reported.
The October employment report is scheduled to be released November 2, according to the Labor Department.