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Unemployment Rate Falls Below 6 Percent For First Time Since ’08

job-market [1]After giving a soft performance in August, the labor market came back strong in September, knocking the national unemployment rate down below the 6.0 percent mark for the first time in more than six years.

According to the latest monthly figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics [2], the nation added 248,000 jobs in September, bringing employment growth back above 200,000 after an unexpected drop in August.

Economists surveyed by theĀ Wall Street Journal predicted the economy would add 215,000 jobs last month.

Meanwhile, payroll figures for July and August were revised upward to 243,000 and 180,000, respectively, tacking on an additional 69,000 jobs to their original estimates. Over the last year, monthly job growth has averaged 213,000.

With the latest estimate, the government puts the U.S. unemployment rate at 5.9 percent, its lowest since July 2008. This represents a decline of 0.2 percentage points from the 6.1 percent rate that was reported for August. The number of unemployed persons nationwide fell by 329,000 down to 9.3 million from August to September. Industries that experienced notable job growth in September were business services, retail trade, and health care.

Year-to-date as of the end of September 2014, the unemployment rate has fallen by a total of 1.3 percentage points and the number of unemployed persons has decreased by 1.9 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.