(By Balachander) Monthly U.S. non-farm payrolls report showed 114,000 jobs were added in September and the unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 7.8 percent to a lowest level since January 2009.
Economists expected creation of 113,000 jobs and unemployment rate to inch higher to 8.2 percent for the previous month.
Non-farm payrolls measures the change in the number of people employed during the previous month, excluding the farming industry.
For the first 8 months of the year, the unemployment rate held within a narrow range of 8.1 and 8.3 percent.
The Bureau Of Labor Statistics said employment rose in health care and in transportation and warehousing but changed little in most other major industries.
During the month of August, the economy added 142,000 jobs, up from a revised 96,000 jobs.
The report showed employment growth has averaged 146,000 per month this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.
Health care added 44,000 jobs in September, while transportation and warehousing created 17,000 jobs.
Meanwhile, manufacturing employment edged down in September by 16,000.
In September, average hourly earnings for all employees on private non-farm payrolls increased by 7 cents to $23.58, the Bureau Of Labor Statistics said.
The non-farm payrolls data comes a day after a government data showed on Thursday that the number of Americans who continued to receive jobless benefits unexpectedly fell last week, an indication that the labor market is stabilizing.