Guest editorial…Hopeful signs for the economy

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A new Labor Department report showed some encouraging signs for the economy and should give some hope for the jobless.

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years.

The new jobs report should give a potential boost to President Barack Obama with the election just a month away.

The unemployment rate dropped from 8.1 percent because the number of people who said they were employed increased by 870,000. This is an encouraging sign for an economy that’s been struggling to create jobs.

Employers added 114,000 jobs in September. The Labor Department said the economy created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than the department had initially estimated.

The job gains for September were led by the health-care industry, which added 44,000 jobs. Transportation and warehousing also showed large gains.

Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the report signals improvement.

“An overall better-than-expected jobs report, consistent with most recent data that suggest the economy is gaining some momentum,” Guatieri said in a note to clients. “The sizeable drop in the unemployment rate could lift the president’s reelection chances following a post-debate dip.”

The jobs report comes days after a debate between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Most polls show that voters watching the debate thought Romney won.

Romney took issue with any positive interpretation of the jobs report.

“This is not what a real recovery looks like,” he said in a statement.

Despite Romney’s assertions, the jobs report offered the president some ammunition for his case that he is better equipped to steer the economy.

In addition to the decline in the unemployment rate, there were other encouraging signs for the economy.

More people started looking for work and wages rose in September.

After a severe financial crisis and deep recession, the president can point to the 24th straight month of overall job growth and a drop below 8 percent unemployment.

The president can convincingly point to an economy that’s on the right track.

(Reprinted from the Philadelphia Tribune)

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