U.S. jobless rate falls to 6-year low of 5.9 percent

This April 22, 2014 photo shows an employment application form. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers added 248,000 jobs last month, a burst of hiring that drove down the unemployment rate to 5.9 percent, the lowest since July 2008.

The mostly positive government report also showed that employers added 69,000 more jobs in July and August than previously estimated.

The rate fell from 6.1 percent in August and is now close to 5.5 percent, which many economists consider a healthy level.

That could ratchet up pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise its benchmark interest rate earlier than it plans. Most economists have predicted that the Fed will do so in mid-2015.

The improved figures come after President Barack Obama touted his administration’s economic achievements in a speech Thursday. The economy is the top issue in voters’ minds as the November elections near.

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