Newspaper article International New York Times

Jobless Rate in U.S. Falls below 6% as Hiring Revives ; Lowest Level since 2008; Economy Continues to Diverge from Eurozone's

Newspaper article International New York Times

Jobless Rate in U.S. Falls below 6% as Hiring Revives ; Lowest Level since 2008; Economy Continues to Diverge from Eurozone's

Article excerpt

Businesses added 248,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent, the first time it has been below 6 percent since July 2008.

The American economy is picking up pace, with employers hiring again at a healthy level and an unemployment rate that is at its lowest since the summer of 2008, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

For the first time since the middle of the recession, the jobless rate fell below 6 percent, dropping to 5.9 percent from 6.1 percent in August, and continuing a decline from its recession peak of 10 percent.

The data indicate that the United States economy continues to diverge from the listless eurozone, where the unemployment rate remains stubbornly above 11 percent and the bloc's economy threatens to teeter back into recession.

The dollar continued its rise against the euro currency, which was trading at 1.2517 on Friday afternoon in Europe, continuing to find new two-year lows.

A weak euro could help European exporters by making their goods more affordable on global markets. That might be one reason that European stocks rallied on the United States jobs report. The CAC- 40 index closed up 0.9 percent in France, while the FTSE 100 in Britain rose 1.2 percent. German markets were closed for a holiday.

And yet, in another piece of good news for the American economy, new data on Friday indicated that the United States' trade gap unexpectedly narrowed in August to its lowest level in seven months, owing to an increase in exports. That means that, despite the dollar's gaining strength, exports are playing a role in the United States' solid economic growth. Petroleum exports were the highest on record.

American employers added 248,000 jobs in September across a number of sectors, and hiring in August, originally seen to have slowed, was revised upward to a more promising 180,000 jobs, the government said.

The strong report -- the last one before congressional midterm elections next month -- buoyed the outlook of economists who had worried the post-recession recovery was being sidetracked. …

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