Nonfarm payrolls grew by 248,000 jobs in September, the Labor Department reported Friday. The unemployment rate also fell to 5.9 percent from its previous reading of 6.1 percent.
The reading comes in better than expected, as consensus estimates for payroll growth had been at 215,000, according to Bloomberg. It's also an acceleration from August's payroll growth, which has been revised up from 142,000 to 180,000.
This is also the first time the unemployment rate has been below 6 percent since July 2008. However, that may not entirely reflect an improving job market. The labor force participation rate — that is, the share of the population that is either working or looking for work — continued to slip in September, to 62.7 percent, its lowest point since 1978. As people stop looking for work, whether it's because they find a job or give up, they are no longer counted as unemployed. That means drops in the unemployment rate can be deceiving.