The unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest level in more than seven years, according to a jobs report released Friday. In August, 173,000 jobs were added, driving the unemployment rate down from 5.3% to 5.1% during the month. It’s part of a years-long trend in falling unemployment as the economy slowly recovered from the recession, which ended in 2009. Here’s a chart that shows how the unemployment rate has plummeted in the past several years, as well as unemployment trends since the 1980s.
Though a low unemployment rate is a good thing, other data indicate that the jobs outlook still isn’t all that rosy. The labor participation rate is at its lowest level since the 1970s, and average hourly earnings for workers have barely budged over the last year.