After a months-long slump, the September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed signs of vigor. A surge in job creation within the healthcare sector helped push the national unemployment rate to its lowest point in 43 months.
In the overall economy, the unemployment rate fell from 8.1% in August to 7.8% in September—the lowest since January 2009. Since January of this year, the number of unemployed has decreased by 456,000.
The overall number of jobs added in September was 114,000, a number lower than 2012's average month-to-month growth of 146,000 jobs. Keep in mind, that these are "preliminary" numbers, subject to revision. The latest jobs data showed almost across-the-board growth: finance added 13,000 jobs, professional and business services added 13,000, leisure and hospitality added 11,000, the government added 10,000, and construction added 5,000. Manufacturing, meanwhile, cut 16,000 jobs.
But the healthcare sector
showed surprising strength and accounted for 38% of all new jobs created in September. That translates to 43,500 new jobs for the month, nearly triple the sector's job growth rate over the summer, which averaged 15,000 new jobs a month.
Healthcare's September growth spurt far surpassed its performance over the past twelve months, which averaged 28,000 new jobs per month. If the pokey August numbers gave observers pause, September's data is keeping doubts at bay, at least for now.