Unemployment Rate Hits 6-Year Low: 5.9% As 248K new jobs added By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Oct 3, 2014 7:56 AM CDT 227 comments Comments In this June 12, 2014, photo, people wait in line for the Cleveland Career Fair in Independence, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak) (Newser) – We saw what the AP terms a "burst of hiring" last month, with US employers adding 248,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropping to its lowest level since July 2008—5.9%. Economists had expected 215,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate to hold at 6.1%, the Wall Street Journal reports. In more good news, today's jobs report also bumped up the estimates for July and August, adding a total of 69,000 more jobs to the previous estimates. As for that unemployment rate, it's close to what "many economists consider a healthy level" of 5.5%, the AP notes. But the drop is partially because nearly 100,000 people stopped looking for work last month. That means the labor-force participation rate is at 62.7%, the lowest proportion of Americans working or looking for work since February 1978. Before the recession, the rate was around 66%.