Just four days before the presidential election, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued Friday its October employment report, which showed unemployment notched up to 7.9%, with U.S. employers adding 171,000 jobs.
Employment rose in professional and business services, health care and retail trade.
The report noted that Hurricane Sandy “had no discernible effect” on the employment and unemployment data for October, as the household survey data collection was completed before the storm, and establishment survey data collection rates were within normal ranges nationally and for the affected areas.
Analysts had expected an increase of around 125,000 jobs.
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The BLS September employment report showed that unemployment dropped to 7.8%, with employment rising by 114,000, the lowest rate since January 2009. Employment during that month increased in health care, transportation and warehousing but changed little in most other major industries.
Elaine Kamarck, co-chair of the RATE Coalition and former White House adviser to President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore, noted in a release that Friday’s jobs numbers “provide more evidence that the country is beginning its recovery.”