World Economy

US Jobless Rate 5.9%, Lowest Since 2008

US Jobless Rate 5.9%, Lowest Since 2008US Jobless Rate 5.9%, Lowest Since 2008

The US jobless rate declined to a six-year low of 5.9 percent in September and employers in the US added more workers than projected, signs of more vigor in the labor market that will help sustain faster economic growth.

The 248,000 gain in payrolls followed a 180,000 August increase that was bigger than previously estimated, the Labor Department reported in Washington. The median forecast of economists in a Bloomberg survey called for a 215,000 advance. The unemployment rate fell to the lowest level since July 2008 from 6.1 percent.

“This report was strong across the board,” said Dean Maki, chief US economist at Barclays PLC in New York and the top payrolls forecaster according to Bloomberg data. “The labor market continues to grow fast enough to keep pushing the unemployment rate down.”

Sustained, elevated gains in hiring are needed to help bring about faster wage growth and put the expansion in a self-reinforcing cycle of more consumer spending and employment opportunities. Federal Reserve policy makers are trying to determine the extent of labor-market slack as the central bank approaches the end of asset purchases aimed at boosting growth.

 Construction, Retail

Employment at private service providers increased 207,000, while payrolls rose by 4,000 at factories. Construction companies added 16,000 workers for a second month and retail employment grew by 35,300 last month.

Construction companies added 16,000 workers for a second month.

Automakers boosted hiring by 3,300 in September after a 4,500 drop in August that may have reflected the timing of plant shutdowns to retool for the new model year.

Employment at food and beverage stores rebounded 19,500 after a decline in August, when workers walked off the job at a New England grocer.

Today’s employment report also showed average hourly earnings were unchanged in September and up 2 percent over the past 12 months.

The underemployment rate, a gauge that counts the unemployed, workers settling for part-time jobs, and people who have given up the search, fell to 11.8 percent in September from 12 percent a month earlier. The gauge has averaged 15.1 percent since the recession ended in June 2009.