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Good News: 248K Jobs Added in September, With Unemployment Dropping Even for Black Workers

black construction workerAfter disappointing jobs numbers in August that had the nation’s economists worried, last month signaled a return to a healthy economic outlook as the nation added 248,000 jobs in September, dropping the unemployment rate down to 5.9 percent — the first time in six years it’s been below 6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The number of unemployed people decreased by 329,000 to 9.3 million last month and even contained some good news for African-Americans. The unemployment rate for African-Americans dropped from 11.4 percent in August to 11 percent in September. Unemployment rates also declined in September for adult men (who were at 5.3 percent), whites (at 5.1 percent), and Hispanics (at 6.9 percent). The rate for teenagers actually increased from 19.6 percent to 20 percent, meaning employers were looking primarily for more seasoned hands.

The drop down to 5.9 percent for the overall unemployment rate (which was at 6.1 percent in August) was especially significant since it hasn’t been below 6 percent since July 2008. During the recession, the unemployment rate peaked at 10 percent.

Job creation numbers were so strong that they even lifted August’s relatively dismal numbers. August was the first month since the winter that the jobs number dropped below 200,000 — but August’s numbers weren’t as bad as originally thought, as the government revised August by adding nearly 40,000 more jobs, meaning there were 180,000 jobs added in August instead of the 142,000 originally reported.

Across the employment sector, September saw job increases:

— Professional and business services added 81,000 jobs in September, compared with an average gain of 56,000 per month over the prior 12 months. Only legal services saw a decline, dropping by 5,000 over the month.

— Retail added 35,000 in September, with 20,000 due to food and beverage stores.

— Health care added 23,000 jobs in September, in line with the prior 12-month average gain of 20,000 jobs per month.

— Mining employment rose by 9,000 in September.

— Employment in food services and drinking places rose by 20,000 jobs.

— In September, construction employment increased 16,000, with residential building increasing by 6,000. Over the year, construction has added 230,000 jobs.

— Financial activities added 12,000 jobs in September and has added 89,000 jobs over the year.


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