5 Nov 2011

Fall in US unemployment rate

6:38 am on 5 November 2011

The rate of unemployment in the United States dropped to 9% in October from 9.1% the month before.

The Department of Labor said 80,000 new jobs were added in October, less than had been forecast.

But the economy added 158,000 jobs in September, more than the original estimate of 103,000.

Earlier this week, the Federal Reserve cut its forecast for US growth and increased its expectation for unemployment next year.

The Fed anticipates unemployment falling only to 8.5%-8.7% next year. It had previously predicted a fall to 7.8%.

The Department of Labor said employment had increased by an average of 125,000 per month over the past 12 months.

The BBC reports the unemployment rate was last at 9% in April this year. It peaked at 10.1% in October 2009.

The bulk of new jobs in October was in business services - such as temporary help services and technical consulting - and in leisure and hospitality.

The number of long-term unemployed who have been without a job 27 weeks or more dropped slightly to 5.9 million, or 42% of the total unemployed.