The U.S. unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 5.6% while the economy lost jobs in September for the first time in five months, the Labor Dept. said today.
The jobless rate was down from 5.7% in August and the lowest since February. Payrolls fell by 43,000 last month after rising 107,000 the month before, more than twice as much as the government initially reported.
The decline was the first since April, when payrolls shrank by 21,000 jobs.
Trucking contributed heavily to the fall in payroll. LTL carrier Consolidated Freightways shut down operations September 2 and laid off 15,500 people in the process. Several engine makers also laid off workers because of lower heavy-duty truck sales.