Labor Department: Tampa metro area had largest unemployment rate decline

lowest rate since January 2009

WASHINGTON - The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent last month, dropping below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years.

The Tampa Bay- St. Pete-Clearwater area experienced the largest unemployment rate decline among metropolitan areas with a million people or more, declining 2.2 percentage points from August 2011.

The rate fell because more people found work, a trend that could impact the presidential election.

The Labor Department says employers added 114,000 jobs in September. The economy also created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than first estimated. Wages rose in September and more people started looking for work.

The revisions show employers added 146,000 jobs per month from July through September, up from 67,000 in the previous three months. The unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent in August, matching its level in January 2009 when President Barack Obama took office.

The decline could help the President, who is coming off a disappointing first debate against Mitt Romney.

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