The unemployment rate in the United States dropped to 7.8 percent in September, a 44-month low, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Employers added 114,000 jobs last month. The government also revised job statistics upward for July (from 141,000 jobs to 181,000) and August (from 96,000 to 142,000). With the revisions, employers added 146,000 jobs per month between July and September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months.
Total employment rose by 873,000 in September following three months of little change.
There were 12.1 million unemployed persons, a decrease of 456,000 from August. There were declines in the unemployment rates for adult men (7.6 percent to 7.3 percent), adult women (7.3 percent to 7.0 percent) and whites (from 7.2 percent to 7 percent). The unemployment rates for teenagers (23.7 percent), blacks (13.4 percent) and Hispanics (9.9 percent) were little changed from the previous month.
In September, the number of those who lost their jobs and who completed temporary jobs decreased by 468,000 to 6.5 million, while those who have been unemployed for less than five weeks declined by 302,000 over the month to 2.5 million.
Those who have been jobless for at least 27 weeks dipped from five million to 4.8 million. These “long-term unemployed” account for 40.1 percent of the unemployed.
The number of persons employed part-time because their hours had been scaled back or because they were unable to find a full-time job increased to 8.6 million from 8 million in August. Last month, 2.5 million persons—basically unchanged from August--were “marginally attached” to the labor force, meaning they were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime over the course of the prior year. Because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding this month’s survey, they were not counted among the unemployed.
Among the marginally attached workers, there were 802,000 discouraged workers, down from 844,000 in August and a decline of 235,000 from last year. These individuals are not currently looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available to them.
Health care added 44,000 jobs in September. Over the past year, employment in this sector has risen by 295,000. Also posting employment gains in September were transportation and warehousing (17,000 jobs), and financial activities (13,000 jobs). Manufacturing employment lost 16,000 jobs in September. Manufacturing employment has been unchanged since April, the BLS reports.
The jobs report comes just days after the first presidential debate, in which pundits generally agreed that Republican challenger Mitt Romney was more impressive against incumbent Barack Obama. There will be one more jobs report before the November election.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.