U.S. Unemployment Rate Falls to 3.7%—Lowest in 49 Years

WASHINGTON—The U.S. jobs sector is thriving and hasn’t seen this kind of momentum since 1969—the same year Astronaut Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon and uttered, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

The unemployment rate declined to 3.7% in September, adding 134,000 jobs, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, healthcare, transportation and warehousing. The number of unemployed persons decreased by 270,000 to six million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 0.5 percentage points and 795,000, respectively.

“Encouraging indicators were broad based. For the fifth month this year, the unemployment rate has been below 4%. The unemployment rate for women fell to 3.6%, the lowest in 65 years, and the unemployment rate for Hispanics matched a record low set in July 2018. The number of unemployed fell below six million for the first time since December 2000,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. “This jobs report shows continued steady job creation, with 134,000 jobs added last month, and upward revisions of 87,000 jobs for July and August—bringing the total to 221,000 new jobs. Since President Trump’s election, 4.2 million jobs have been created in the United States.”

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.3%) and Whites (3.3%) declined in September. The jobless rates for adult men (3.4%), teenagers (12.8%), Blacks (6%), Asians (3.5%), and Hispanics (4.5%) showed little or no change over the month.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 1.4 million over the month; these individuals accounted for 22.9% of the unemployed.

In September, the labor force participation rate remained at 62.7%, and the employment-population ratio, at 60.4%, was little changed.

“The American economy continues to fire on all cylinders. During the past few months, we have seen GDP growth exceed 4%, consumer confidence rise to an 18-year high, and the stock market set new records. President Trump’s new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada will open even more opportunity for Americans,” said Acosta. “As we recover from Hurricane Florence, the Department of Labor is working closely with states to help them assess workforce needs so that Americans can return to work or find a new job. Getting dislocated workers back on their feet is a top priority.”