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US unemployment falls to 7.8 pct., a 44-month low

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employmentThe U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years and giving President Barack Obama a potential boost with the election a month away.

The rate dropped from 8.1 percent because the number of people who were employed according to a government survey soared by 873,000 - the biggest monthly jump since 2003. It was an encouraging sign for an economy that's been struggling to create enough jobs. So was the fact that more people decided to look for work in September.

A separate government survey of companies and government agencies showed they added 114,000 jobs in September. And it turns out that 86,000 more jobs were added in July and August than the government had initially estimated.

"An overall better-than-expected jobs report, consistent with most recent data that suggest the economy is gaining some momentum," said Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets. "The sizable drop in the unemployment rate could lift the president's re-election chances."


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