October 6, 2012 - 10:13 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - The Oct 5 monthly jobs report changed the picture of the U.S. economy in more ways than one, showing the unemployment rate fell to the lowest level in more than three years and hiring was stronger than originally reported throughout the summer, according to CNNMoney.
Unemployment unexpectedly fell to 7.8% in September, down from 8.1%, as a survey of U.S. households showed 873,000 more Americans had jobs compared to a month earlier.
The last time the unemployment rate was that low was in January 2009, the month President Barack Obama was inaugurated.
A separate survey of employers, considered the key metric that Wall Street watches, showed businesses added 114,000 jobs in September. It marked a slowdown in hiring, after July and August were revised significantly higher.
Those revisions added 86,000 more jobs than originally reported in the summer.
Ever since the financial crisis, the monthly jobs report has been the most intensely watched economic indicator, but in election season, attention surrounding the numbers has reached new heights.
Of the 8.8 million jobs lost during the financial crisis, about 4.3 million have been added back. The Labor Department signaled last week that it may revise the job gains higher, but even so, the job market still has a long way to go before it's fully healed.
About 12.1 million people were unemployed in September, and 40% of them have been so for six months or more.
The so-called "underemployment rate," which includes people who are working part time for economic reasons, and those who have recently stopped looking for a job, was 14.7% in September.
Most economists expect the economy to remain slow for the foreseeable future, growing around 2% a year through 2013.