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Unemployment Rate Falls


The nation's unemployment rate fell unexpectedly to 5.7 per cent last month - the lowest since March - and companies added workers to their payrolls for a fourth consecutive month, signalling that the worst round of firings may be over.

The unemployment rate fell from 5.9 per cent in July and payrolls increased by 39,000 last month as more jobs were added in health care, construction, help supply and the government, the Labour Department said yesterday. In July, employment had grown by a revised 67,000, about 10 times more than the government had estimated last month.

'The economy is gaining some steam,' said Mr Lakshman Achuthan, an economist at the Economic Cycle Research Institute in New York.
'Consumers keep buying, which is forcing businesses to produce more, and that's why you see less firing.'

Economists had expected payrolls to rise by 30,000 last month following a previously reported increase of 6,000 for July.
The unemployment rate was expected to rise to 6 per cent.

The Labour Department report came a day after Dallas Federal Reserve Bank president Robert McTeer said it was hard to maintain optimism on the United States economy as it had been 'pretty much a jobless recovery' so far.

'For a while now when it comes to the economy, the glass has either been half-full or half-empty, and at the Dallas Fed, that always translates into half-full because we've learnt over the years that optimism has a much better track record in this modern economy of ours than pessimism,' Mr McTeer said in a speech to the Greater Dallas Chamber of Commerce.
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