Unemployment Rate Drops Below 8%

114,000 New Jobs Created

Unemployment RateThe unemployment rate in the United States dipped below 8% as 114,000 new jobs were created in September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. While employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, job numbers remained largely unchanged in other major industries.

The decrease in what federal officials calculate as the traditional unemployment rate to 7.8% was heartening, but the positive news was tempered by the fact that "total unemployment" remained flat at 14.7%. Total unemployment accounts for marginally attached and discouraged job seekers – those either working part time when full-time is preferred or people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work.

Nonetheless, BLS reported that the health care sector added 44,000 jobs in September. Job gains continued in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+8,000). Over the past year, employment in health care has risen by 295,000. Last month, employment increased by 17,000 in transportation and warehousing. Within the transportation sector specifically, there were job gains in transit and ground passenger transportation (+9,000), as well as in warehousing and storage (+4,000).

Employment in financial activities edged up last month by 13,000, reflecting modest job growth in credit intermediation (+6,000) and real estate (+7,000). Meanwhile, manufacturing employment took a step backward, decreasing by 16,000. On net, manufacturing employment has remained unchanged since April. In September, job losses occurred in computer and electronic products (-6,000) and in printing and related activities (-3,000).

This year, overall employment growth has averaged 146,000 per month, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.