The United States created 248,000 jobs in September and hiring in August turned out to be a lot stronger than initially reported, showing the U.S. economy entered the fall with rising momentum. The unemployment rate also fell to a six-year low of 5.9%, dropping below the 6% mark for the first time since 2008, the Labor Department said Friday. More people found work while others dropped out of the labor force to send the unemployment rate lower. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected an increase of 220,000 nonfarm jobs last month. In September, professional job increased by 81,000 while retailers, health-care providers and construction companies also posted strong job growth. The amount of time people worked each week rose a tick to 34.6 hours to reach a postrecession high. Hours worked usually rise when the economy strengthens. Yet average hourly wages fell a penny to $24.53, reducing the 12-month increase to 2% from 2.1%. Slow wage growth continues to hold economic growth back despite widespread signs of progress. Employment gains for August and July, meanwhile, were revised up by a combined 69,000. The government said the 180,000 new jobs were created in August, up from a preliminary 142,000. July's gain was revised to 243,000 from 212,000. So far in 2014 the economy has gained an average of 227,000 jobs a month, up 17% from the 2013 pace of 194,000.
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