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A worker directs traffic for street construction in Portland, Ore., Friday. The Labor Department reported Friday the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September, a decline of 0.3 percentage point and the lowest since January 2009. The government said the economy created 114,000 jobs, about as expected, and generated 86,000 more jobs in July and August than first estimated.

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Unemployment dips below 8 percent

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time since the month President Barack Obama took office, a surprising lift for both the economy and his re-election hopes in the final weeks of the campaign.

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