WASHINGTON (MCT) — Employers added 114,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate tumbled sharply to 7.8 percent, the government said Friday in a closely watched jobs report just weeks away from presidential elections.
The employment numbers were in the ballpark of consensus forecasts, but the jobless rate fell three-tenths of a percentage point to 7.8 percent, going below where it stood when President Barack Obama took office. The administration has been criticized for an unemployment rate above 8 percent for the balance of the president’s term.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics revised upwards earlier estimates for employment in July and August, saying there were another 86,000 jobs added over those two months. Combined with stronger manufacturing data, it adds to the sentiment that the economy is gaining steam, albeit still growing at a subpar rate.
Healthcare drove much of the growth in September, adding 44,000 jobs, while the labor-intensive manufacturing sector shed 16,000 jobs in the month.