U.S. economy adds 148,000 jobs

The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in September, according to preliminary data from the U.S. Department of Labor, and the official unemployment rate fell to 7.2%, down from 7.3% the previous month. Construction, wholesale trade and transportation, and warehousing led in the number of jobs gained.

Meanwhile, the civilian labor force participation rate remains at 63.2%, which is very low. Involuntary part-timers, or those employed part time for economic reasons, remained unchanged at 7.9 million in September.

There are 11.3 million unemployed people in the U.S., but that number is down 522,000 since June. The number of discouraged workers (those who have given up the job search) remained at 852,000 in September, the same as a year earlier. Likewise, the ranks of the long-term unemployed, or those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more, remained at about 4.1 million and account for about 37% of the total number of unemployed. Their numbers have decreased by 725,000 over the past year.

Economists say the U.S. economy must create at least 150,000 new jobs each month just to keep up with changes in population and the labor market, and it must create about 250,000 to quickly bring down the unemployment rate.

The jobs report, usually released the first Friday of each month, was delayed due to the government shutdown.