The official US unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent in September, according to the latest jobs report released by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics today.
That's down 0.3 percentage points from the previous month, and the first time the number has dipped below 8 percent since January of 2009.
According to the report, overall payroll employment rose by 114,000, with most gains seen in the health care, transportation, and warehousing sectors. Most other industries, including manufacturing, saw little or no improvement.
A survey of households from which the jobless rate is derived showed 873,000 job gains last month, the most since June 1983. The drop in unemployment came even as Americans come back into the labor force to resume the hunt for work. The workforce had shrank in the prior two months.
The household survey is volatile. A survey of business establishments showed employers added 114,000 jobs to their payrolls last month, a touch above economists' expectations for 113,000 jobs. Employment for July and August was revised to show 86,000 more jobs created than previous reported.
It was the second last report before the November 6 election that pits Obama against Republican Mitt Romney.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday after Wednesday's first presidential debate showed Romney gained ground and is now viewed positively by 51 percent of voters. Obama's favorability rating remained unchanged at 56 percent.
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