Official unemployment rate at 7.8% (Updated)
The official rate dropped from 8.1% unemployment in August. And the Bureau of Labor Statistics added 86,000 more jobs in July and August as more hard data became available.
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. The rate fell because more people found work, a trend that could impact the presidential election.
The Labor Department says employers added 114,000 jobs in September. The economy also created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than first estimated. Wages rose in September and more people started looking for work.
The revisions show employers added 146,000 jobs per month from July through September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months.
The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August, matching its level in January 2009 when President Obama took office.
The decline could help Obama, who is coming off a disappointing debate against Mitt Romney.
As usual with this number, the real unemployment data is hidden away inside the BLS report. We'll update this blog as deeper analysis becomes available.
Update from Thomas Lifson:
Jack Welch is tweeting what many are thinking: that "these Chicago guys" are fudging the numbers. In the short run, there is probably no way to determine if there has been corruption of the BLS data.If this is a top-down effort to manage the data, then if next month's data goes below the level when Obama took office, that would fuel a powerful media narrative that we're back ont he way up. The old "stay the course" argument.
Bruce Johnson adds:
Thin Air is on Obama's Side. So many events originate in the thin atmosphere that seems to miraculously benefit Mr. Obama.
This September employment data counters the debate performance and eviscerates much of Romney's argument.
Ta da! Magically, after the poor debate performance, we get the largest leap in home survey jobs in nearly 30 years. The employment rate drops to 7.8%.
Now the "no President has ever won reelection with unemployment over 8%" rule is out the window. Additionally, this short circuits all the small business and jobs points made by Romney on Wednesday night.
What wonderful timing.
How come Ben Bernanke didn't see this coming? Is QE 3 necessary now? Will Ben quickly withdraw the tactic now that this gigantic leap in employment has been reported and apparently occurred before QE 3 was announced and implemented?
873,000 people found work, at home. Shazzam. Voila!
Why does something of this magnitude not appear in the GDP calculations? GDP calculations are hard fact compilations. Home job surveys over the phone are what, exactly?
File this with the Nobel Peace Prize. Remarkable events surround Mr. Obama.
Rick Moran adds:
It is disappointing to see so many conservatives fall for the conspiracy line on the BLS numbers. This is just unthinking paranoia, as Megan McCardle points out:
The jobs report that came out this morning was incredibly confusing. On the one hand, the number of payroll jobs went up by only 114,000. On the other, the household survey (which is more volatile) reported a whopping 873,000 new jobs, and an unemployment rate down to 7.8%.
Incredibly, this triggered conspiracy-mongering from conservatives, ranging from outright lying by the BLS, to the suggestion that maybe a bunch of Democrats lied about getting jobs in order to boost the president's chances at the polls next month. This is crazy talk. First of all, conservatives are the people who believe that the whole federal government is basically run like the DMV. Why on earth would you suddenly believe they're capable of mounting such a vast conspiracy? Second of all, if you were going to try to boost the president's fortunes, surely you would pick a more inspiring number than a lame 114,000 net new jobs.
The truth is more boring: the household survey is super-volatile. Also, about 500,000 of those new jobs were part time, and may represent some sort of seasonal boost that will quickly disappear.
There's another reason to disbelieve in a conspiracy: the number comes too late to do any good. Most of the political experts I've talked to think that late-breaking good news on unemployment doesn't help you . . . and the reason they think this is that George H. W. Bush had good employment numbers in the fall, with a sharp October decline in the number of unemployed, yet he nonetheless went down to defeat. If you go along for four years with an unemployment rate of over 8%, then suddenly dip to slightly below that figure, voters do not simply go "Hurray! The president finally fixed the economy just in time!" They think "Maybe it's really getting better, and maybe it's a blip." (As in fact, the 1992 October jobs report sort of was--the number of people out of work rose again the following month, though in the context of a distinct downward trend).
This is an absolutely horrible jobs report. The closer you look at it, the worse it gets. One wonders if the BLS was going to cook the books, wouldn't they make an angel food cake instead of a crap sandwich?