US unemployment rate falls to five-decade low of 3.5%

Unemployment hit a 50-year low in September even though nonfarm payrolls rose by just 136,000 as the economy nears full employment, the Labor Department said Friday.

The jobless rate dropped 0.2 percentage points to 3.5 percent, matching a level it last saw in December 1969, the report said. A more encompassing measure that includes discouraged workers and the underemployed also fell, declining 0.3 percent points to 6.9 percent, meeting its lowest level in nearly 19 years and just off the all-time low of 6.8 percent.

According to the report, the jobless rate for Hispanics also hit a new record low, while the level for African Americans maintained its lowest level ever.

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