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What the better unemployment numbers say about the economy

October 05, 2012|By Pat Benson

The U.S. economy created a moderate number of jobs last month, but the unemployment rate fell sharply. How can that be?

Economy reporter Don Lee and Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, will explain that and other aspects of the jobs report in a Google+ Hangout at 10 a.m. PDT, moderated by Times columnist David Lazarus. We invite you to join in on the conversation by posting comments below.

LIVE VIDEO DISCUSSION: Join us at 10 a.m. today

The unemployment rate fell to 7.8% in September, the lowest level since January 2009 when President Obamatook office, Don Lee writes today. Not only that, job growth this summer was found to be stronger than previously estimated.

The economy added 114,000 jobs in September, matching analysts' expectations. Job growth for August was revised up to 142,000 from 96,000; and the number for July was upgraded to 181,000, from 141,000.

"Far more surprising was the dramatic 0.3 percentage point decline in the jobless rate, which all year long had been hovering between 8.1% and 8.3%," Lee writes. "The big drop would seem out of sync with the modest job gains last month."

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