On Friday morning the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its September jobs report, which indicated the (U-3) unemployment rate fell last month to 7.8%, down from 8.1% in August, as non-farm payrolls added 114,000 jobs.
The 7.8% figure reflects the percentage of the total workforce who are unemployed and are actively looking for work. This figure does not include unemployed members of the workforce who are not actively looking for work; nor does it factor in workers with part-time jobs who are seeking full-time employment. When these workers are included, the (U-6) un/underemployment rate for September remained at 14.7% as it had been in August.
The report came less than 48 hours after President Obama turned in a lackluster performance against Republican rival Mitt Romney, who has criticized Obama for presiding over a sluggish recovery with unemployment above 8%.
Dow futures reacted dramatically in what should prove to be a bullish day in the markets:
Meanwhile, Treasury yields spiked, as safe-haven demand has been dampened at least for the moment:
According to a survey of economists, the country was expected to add 115,000 jobs in September, with the (U-3) unemployment rate increasing to 8.2%, as the rate of jobs added was not believed to have been enough to sustain the 8.1% figure seen in August, when the U.S. added 96,000 jobs.
On the heels of Wednesday night's presidential debate, a poor jobs report could have given added momentum to Romney, whose debate performance was a tour de force from a man who only hours before looked as if his campaign were reeling to the point of irrelevance. Friday's unemployment figure is the penultimate monthly report from the U.S. Department of Labor before the November 6 presidential election. The last BLS report before the election will be released Friday November 2, at 8:30am.
Last month, the Federal Reserve announced the implementation of a third round of quantitative easing, whereby it will purchase $40 billion per month in mortgage-backed securities indefinitely (MBS) from financial institutions, will keep interest rates at zero percent until at least 2015, will make additional purchases if the employment picture doesn't improve, and in general will maintain an stimulative policy for a "considerable time."
Chart of the monthly (U-3) unemployment rate over the last ten years:
Table of the monthly (U-3) unemployment rate over the last ten years: