Falling jobless rate boosts Barack Obama's presidential campaign


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President Barack Obama received a pre-election boost today as official figures saw the US unemployment rate drop to its lowest level in nearly four years.

The world's biggest economy saw its unemployment rate drop below the 8% mark to 7.8% in September from 8.1% in August, the lowest level since Mr Obama assumed office in January 2009.

The Labour Department report, which said 114,000 jobs were created in September and 86,000 more were created in July and August than first estimated, encouraged traders in London as the FTSE 100 Index increased its lead to stand nearly 1% higher.

The decrease comes after president Obama's disappointing debate performance against Republican challenger Mitt Romney earlier in the week.

It will also remove an important psychological barrier to the president's bid for office at the November 6 election - no president has been re-elected with unemployment above 8% since the Great Depression.

The job market has been sluggishly improving with jobs added for 24 months in a row. There are now 325,000 more than when president Obama took office.

The September job gains were led by the health care industry, which added 44,000 jobs - the most since February. Transportation and warehousing also showed large gains.

The revisions showed that governments added 63,000 jobs in July and August, compared with earlier estimates that showed losses.

However, there were some concerning figures. The number of people with part-time jobs who wanted full-time work rose 7.5% to 8.6 million, the Labour Department said.