Nation's Unemployment Drops to 6-Year Low

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U.S. unemployment fell to a six-year low in September, dropping to 5.9 percent.

The U.S. Labor Department announced this morning that a surge in hiring—payrolls jumped by 248,000 last month followed by an August increase of 180,000—triggered the best jobless rate since July 2008. The gain in payrolls over the last six months is now at its highest level since before the recession took hold in 2007.

Meanwhile, it's also important to keep an eye on the the so-called U-6 rate, the measure of unemployment that takes into account worker discouragement. The U-6 rate also dipped in September to 11.8 percent, its lowest since October 2008. The number of people who held part-time jobs in September but sought full-time work declined to 7.1 million. 

Despite all the good news, not everything was rosy: Only 62.7 percent of the population had a job or was seeking a job in September; that's the lowest level since 1978.