Employers added 248,000 nonfarm jobs in September, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent, from 6.1 percent. Bloomberg and Reuters both had a consensus estimate of 215,000 new jobs. The BLS also upwardly revised August and July's employment numbers by a total of 69,000, raising August's number to 180,000 new jobs, from 142,000, and July's to 243,000 jobs added, from 212,000. The jobless number hasn't been below 6 percent since July 2008, shortly before the economy collapsed.
The biggest gains last month were in health care (+23,000), employment services (+34,000), and food and beverage (+20,000), but employers added jobs in all sectors. Hourly wages actually dropped by a penny, though, to $24.53. The better-than-forecast jobs report is seen as boosting the chances that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.