Employers added 171,000 jobs in October, the Labor
Department said Friday in the last employment report before the
presidential election. The growth was better than what many economists
The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%, from 7.8%,
as formerly discouraged workers resumed looking for work. The labor
force -- those working and looking for work -- increased by 578,000.
the report was released, U.S. stock index futures were mixed and almost
flat. After the report, at 8:30 a.m. ET, they showed little change.
added 184,000 jobs, while federal, state and local governments cut
13,000. That was the highest amount of government job losses since June.
Reductions in government jobs have hampered the jobs recovery the past
Professional and business services, health care and retail drove the private-sector job additions.
surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated that non-farm employment rose by
125,000 last month, with businesses adding 124,000 jobs and governments
The Labor Department revised up job gains for August
and September by a total 84,000. Gains for August were revised to
192,000 from 142,000 and September's were revised to 148,000 from
Other barometers of the job market have been more
encouraging recently. The government reported Thursday that first-time
jobless claims last week fell 9,000 to 363,000. And a private survey
estimated businesses added 158,000 jobs in October.
fronts, the economy has also shown improvement with retail sales,
consumer confidence and the housing market strengthening. Falling
gasoline prices are expected to provide a further boost to consumer
But businesses have pulled back on investment and hiring
amid looming tax increases and spending cuts that could hobble the U.S.
economy if Congress doesn't act. And the European financial crisis
continues to curtail U.S. exports.
"The fiscal issue is weighing
on (business) confidence," says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's
Analytics. "That's being reflected in (declining) investment and the
lack of a pickup in hiring."
The Commerce Department recently said
that economy grew at a 2% annual pace in the third quarter, up from
1.3% in the second quarter, a modest expansion that's unlikely to result
in robust job growth.