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Good News for Obama:US unemployment rate falls in September

BBC

The US unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest rate since January 2009, figures from the Department of Labor have shown, surprising analysts who had been expecting a small rise.

Last month’s rate came in at 7.8%, down from 8.1% in August. The latest numbers also showed that the US economy added a further 114,000 jobs in September, beating expectations.

The presidential candidates sparred over the data, which is seen as a key issue for November’s elections.

Speaking at a campaign event in the state of Virginia, President Barack Obama said: “Today, I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again.”

Falling unemployment means “this country has come too far to turn back now”, he added.

But Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that an unemployment rate of 7.8% “is not what a real recovery looks like”.

When joblessness was last this low, President Barack Obama was about to take office.

 The figures are a boost for Mr Obama whose performance was widely panned in a presidential debate with Mr Romney in Denver on Wednesday.

 ‘Mixed picture’

 Economist Sean Incremona of New York-based company 4Cast said the latest data showed that the US economy remained subdued.

“Generally, we are still seeing a mixed underlying picture that is neither too impressive nor terrible,” he said.

Fellow economist, Omer Esiner, of Rhode Island-based Commonwealth Foreign Exchange, was more upbeat.

“The headline of the day is clearly the drop in the unemployment rate, which was a big surprise,” he said. ”

There is something in these numbers for everyone. The rise in the participation rate shows somewhat of a real improvement in the labour market.”

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, caused a stir when he appeared to suggest the figures had been massaged.

 He tweeted: “Unbelievable jobs numbers… these Chicago guys will do anything… can’t debate so change numbers”, in a reference to the Obama campaign, which is based in the Illinois city.

His message was picked up by Republicans and conservative commentators, prompting a swift reaction from Democrats. Austan Goolsbee, an Obama economic adviser, responded directly to Mr Welch, tweeting, “Love ya Jack but here you’ve lost your mind”….(BBC)

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