Surveys Offer Differing Views on U.S. Job Gains

Drop in September unemployment rate looks healthier than 114,000 increase in payrolls.

Depending on which Labor Department survey is used, employment in the U.S. either surged the most in 29 years or grew the least in three months.

Employers added 114,000 workers to payrolls last month, the fewest since June, according to the Labor Department’s survey of employers released in Washington today. A separate poll of households showed hiring surged by 873,000, the biggest gain since June 1983 excluding annual Census population adjustments. The surge helped push down the jobless rate to 7.8 percent, the lowest since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009.

Presidential Election

The drop in the unemployment rate gives Obama a new chance to talk about an improving economy and reset the campaign after a tepid debate performance against Romney.

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