US jobless rate falls to 6-year low of 5.9 pct.
Published 10:05 am Friday, October 3, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 248,000 jobs in September, a burst of hiring that helped drive down the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent, the lowest since July 2008.
The Labor Department report Friday also showed that employers added a combined 69,000 more jobs in July and August than the government had previously estimated.
The unemployment rate fell from 6.1 percent in August and is now close to 5.5 percent, which many economists consider a healthy level. The lower rate, combined with the surge in hiring, could ratchet up pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark interest rate earlier than expected. Most economists have predicted that the Fed would start raising rates in mid-2015.
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The job gains were broad-based and included many higher-paying industries. Professional and business services, which includes engineers, accountants and architects, added 81,000 jobs, the most in seven months. Construction companies added 16,000 jobs, manufacturing 4,000.
Economists noted, though, that average hourly wages didn’t budge last month, a surprising trend in light of the healthy job growth. Joseph Brusuelas, chief economist for the consulting firm McGladrey LLP, suggested that more jobs in better-paying industries haven’t yet translated into higher pay because employers still have so many applicants to choose from.
“Policymakers will certainly be worried by the lack of wage growth,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit. “Without substantially higher wage growth, the fear is that households will pull back on consumption if interest rates and borrowing costs start rising, snuffling out the wider economic recovery.”
Stock futures rose after the news was released, a sign that investors are optimistic about the U.S. economy.