New jobs report: US economy adds 171,000 jobs in October, unemployment rate rises to 7.9%

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November 3, 2012

The job market seems to be gradually gaining momentum after nearly stalling in the spring.

People looking for jobs speak with potential employers at the Brooklyn Job Fair.

November 3, 2012

The job market seems to be gradually gaining momentum after nearly stalling in the spring.

People looking for jobs speak with potential employers at the Brooklyn Job Fair.

The nation’s economy added more than 179,000 jobs in October even as unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%, revelations that will likely help shape the presidential campaign’s final days.

The country added more jobs than expected even though the unemployment rate rose slightly from 7.8% the month before, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report released Friday.

More than a half-million people re-entered the labor pool last month to look for jobs, which is why the unemployment rate can increase even as more jobs are created.

Both campaigns have been nervously waiting for the statistics, the final report issued before Election Day.

President Obama’s camp touted the second straight month of an unemployment rate below 8%, the only two times that has happened during his administration, as proof that the nation is on the right track.

“While more work remains to be done,” said Alan Krueger, Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, “today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

But Mitt Romney pointed to the rate as proof that the economy is still growing sluggishly – and that new leadership is needed.

"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill,” Romney said in a statement. “The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office. On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity.”

But because little changed from the month before – and because the nation is still grappling with the destruction left by Hurricane Sandy – the jobs report may not be the massive “October surprise” some pundits were anticipating.

Additionally, 84,000 jobs were added to the September report and 578,000 people joined the workforce in October, signs of modest growth that most analysts believe are indicators that the economy is trending in the right direction.

The stock market greeted news with enthusiasm, opening higher in early trading. This is the 25th straight month the economy has added jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, a non-partisan government agency, conducted its survey in the middle of October, so the impact of Hurricane Sandy is not felt in the numbers.

The unemployment rate had hovered above 8% until last month – and the sudden drop fueled hysteria from some conservatives that the White House had cooked the books. The BLS denied the charges.


Courtesy: NYD

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