Solid job growth in last reading before election
BY Associated Press
Saturday, November 03, 2012
11/03/12 at 5:46 AM
WASHINGTON - The United States added a solid 171,000 jobs in October, and more than a half-million Americans joined the work force, the latest signs that the uneven economic recovery is gaining strength once again.
In addition, more jobs were added in August and September than believed. But the unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent because not all those joining the work force found work, the government said Friday.
Politically, the report was a mix. It gave both President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, political ammunition in the fading days of the campaign.
It allowed Obama to argue that the economy has added jobs for 25 consecutive months, since September 2010, and that the private sector has added jobs for 32 consecutive months, since February 2010.
It allowed the Romney campaign to argue that the unemployment rate will be higher on Election Day than it was on Inauguration Day in January 2009, when it was 7.8 percent.
Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors, said the economy "is in a lot better shape than most people believe. That sets us up for stronger growth next year no matter who is elected on Tuesday."
A government survey of households found that 578,000 Americans joined the work force in October, the Labor Department said. Of those, 470,000 found work. The difference is why the unemployment rate rose from 7.8 percent in September.
Home prices are rising, and retailers and car companies this week reported stronger sales. Consumer confidence in October reached its highest point in almost five years, and stocks are within reach of record highs.
Big businesses are still cautious, partly because of slowing global demand for their goods. But they continue to add jobs in greater numbers than they did last spring.
Original Print Headline: Report shows 171,000 jobs added in October