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Analysts had predicted a small rise in unemployment

5 October 2012 Last updated at 23:08 BST

The US unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest rate since January 2009, figures from the Department of Labor have shown.

Last month's rate came in at 7.8%, down from 8.1% in August. The figures surprised analysts, who had been expecting a small rise.

The presidential candidates sparred over the data, which is seen as a key issue for November's elections.

Mark Mardell reports.