The unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent in September, the lowest level since July 2008. The last time our unemployment rate was below 6 percent, the economy was in the free fall of the Great Recession.
The drop in unemployment was driven by strong jobs growth, with 248 thousand jobs added to nonfarm payrolls. To understand just how strong this is, we can compare this to average job growth over the past five years, which was 154 thousand new jobs per month.
In addition to these new September jobs, there were revisions to earlier estimates of nonfarm employment: July was revised up by 31 thousand and August by 38 thousand jobs.
Finally, students may be interested to know that employment in "food services and drinking places" increased by 20,000 in September and 290,000 over the past year.