6 Oct 2012

Drop in US unemployment rate

8:48 am on 6 October 2012

The unemployment rate in the United States fell last month to its lowest since January 2009.

Labour Department figures issued on Friday showed 7.8% of the workforce was unemployed in September, down from 8.1% in August.

The figures were a surprise to analysts who had been expecting a small rise.

The BBC reports the numbers also showed that the US economy added a further 114,000 jobs in September.

The data showed that the construction sector added 5000 jobs last month, while the number of people working in government jobs rose by 10,000.

However, the biggest gain was record in the healthcare sector, which added 44,000 jobs in September.

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that an unemployment rate of 7.8% "is not what a real recovery looks like".

President Barack Obama said the figures showed more Americans are getting jobs, but also that too many people were still without work.

The Labor Department also used the release of the September data to revise up how many new jobs were created in both July and August. It said that 86,000 more jobs than first calculated were added across the two months.

Separate official figures released at the end of last month revised down by how much the US economy grew between April and June.

Gross domestic product in the second quarter grew at an annualised rate of 1.3%, down from the previous estimate of 1.7%.