Older workers fuel September hiring boom, helping drive jobless rate to 6-year low

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Workers older than 55 benefited from the September surge in hiring.

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The unemployment rate for this group of baby boomers fell to 3.9 percent from 4.6 percent as 230,000 people of them landed new jobs.

The steady gains for these older workers drove much of the job growth in the September jobs report released Friday.

The overall jobless rate fell 0.2 percentage point to 5.9 percent, its lowest level since July 2008. And employers surveyed by the government reported that they added 248,000 jobs in September. The gains for workers older than 55 came from a separate survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs data.

Unemployment rates also fell for other groups, including recent war veterans and college graduates.

Unemployment rate by group:
(Numbers in percentages) September 2014 August 2014 September 2013
White 5.1 5.3 6.3
Black 11 11.4 13
Asian* 4.3 4.5 5.3
Adult men 5.3 5.7 7
Adult women 5.5 5.7 6.2
Teenagers 20 19.6 21.3
20-24 years old 11.4 10.6 12.8
25-54 years old 4.9 5.3 6.1
55 and over 3.9 4.6 5.3
Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan* 6.2 8.1 10.1
No high school diploma 8.4 9.1 10.4
High school graduate 5.3 6.2 7.5
Some college 5.4 5.4 6.1
College graduate 2.9 3.2 3.7
Duration of Unemployment:
Average length (weeks) 31.5 31.7 36.8
Jobless 6 months of more (pct.) 31.9 31.2 36.9
* Not seasonally adjusted
Source: Labor Department