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U.S. jobless rate falls to 7.8 pct., 44-month low

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer Published: October 5, 2012
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. The rate declined because more people found work, a trend that could have an impact on undecided voters in the final month before the presidential election.

The Labor Department said Friday that employers added 114,000 jobs in September. The economy also created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than first estimated. Wages rose in September and more people started looking for work.

The revisions show employers added 146,000 jobs per month from July through September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months. The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August, matching its level in January 2009 when President Barack Obama took office.

The decline could help Obama, who is coming off a disappointing debate performance against GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

Stock futures rose modestly after the report. Dow Jones industrial average futures, up 30 points just before the report came out, were up 45 points after it was released.

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