Still, the economy is growing too slowly to rapidly bring relief to roughly 12 million out-of-work Americans. With the unemployment rate still high, steady growth of more than 3 percent is generally needed to create a sufficient number of jobs.
When the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September, it was the first time the rate had fallen below 8 percent since January 2009, President Barack Obama's first month in office.
The rate fell in September because a government survey of households found a huge increase in the number of people who had jobs. Still, a jump in part-time employment accounted for most of the gain.