The U.S. unemployment rate fell in September to 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969, when young men were being drafted to fight in Vietnam and the American auto industry and the space program were going full blast.
The Labor Department reported October 5 that the rate edged down from 3.9 percent the month before as employers added 134,000 jobs — a figure that was probably depressed by the effects of Hurricane Florence in the South. Still, it extended an extraordinary 8½-year streak of monthly job growth, the longest on record. That run has added nearly 20 million people to the nation's payrolls since the Great Recession, which cost nearly 9 million their jobs.
The ultra-low jobless rate — the best in nearly 49 years — reflects a healthy economy driven by strong consumer and business spending. In fact, hiring is so strong that employers are having trouble filling openings and some are being forced to offer higher pay.
Despite the similar unemployment rates, today's economy is vastly different from that of 1969. Back then...