US unemployment rate hit a six-year low

The US unemployment rate dipped to 5.9% in September, a
six-year low, official figures have shown.
The rate fell from 6.1% in August and is the lowest recorded
since July 2008.
US Labor Department also said that employers added
248,000 jobs last month, and the job growth figures for
August and July were revised upwards.
The jobs figures are seen as a significant gauge of the health
of the economy and there has been much debate over when
US interest rates will rise.
The US Federal Reserve has kept interest rates close to zero
since the financial crisis in 2008.
US markets cheered the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial
Average rising over 100 points.
The US dollar was pushed higher as expectations rose that
interest rates would go up sooner than previously predicted.
“The most important item in this report is the drop in the
unemployment rate below 6%. (Fed Chair Janet) Yellen has
said there is only so much slack if the unemployment rate
falls below 6%,” said Christopher Low, chief economist at
FTN Financial in New York.
The Federal Reserve’s stimulus programme, known as
“quantitative easing”, is due to end this month. Its aim was
to keep long-term interest rates low using the purchase of
bonds, and thus to boost spending.
The Federal Reserve has indicated it will raise short term
interest rates if the economy continues to grow. Janet Yellen
has given no firm date for the rise, but the Fed has said the
move will come a “considerable time” after the stimulus
programme ends.
“This (jobless) number will continue to support the notion
that the economy is growing,” said Paul Nolte at Kingsview
Asset Management in Chicago, “and it isn’t so strong that the
Fed will raise rates anytime soon”.
The Labor Department said 69,000 more jobs were created
in July and August than previously estimated. It also said
nearly 100,000 jobseekers stopped looking for work in
September.
The largest rise in employment was in professional and
business services, including management and legal services,
which saw an increase of 81,000 jobs in September.
The retail sector added 35,000 jobs compared with the
previous month. Employment in the health care,
construction and leisure and hospitality sectors also
continued to increase.

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