More Jobs But Higher Unemployment Rate: What Does This Mean for Obama?
In what could be a last-minute political gift for President Barack Obama, the U.S. Labor Department’s report on Friday showed that job growth accelerated in October to signal an economic recovery that was slow, but steady. Payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 171,000 jobs last month, though the unemployment rate, which comes from a separate survey, rose one-tenth of a percentage point to 7.9 percent. The consensus prediction had been for an addition of 125,000 in payrolls and a 7.9 percent unemployment rate.
While Friday’s report is unlikely to affect the race massively with the polls just four days away, Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have based much of their respective campaigns over which side’s economic policies are better for job creation. Romney has said the pace of growth has not been sufficient, while Obama has cited the fact that the private sector added jobs for 32 straight months.
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Private companies, which added 184,000 jobs, also contributed to all the gains in October. The professional-services sector added 51,000 jobs, health care gained 31,000, retail added 36,000, and leisure and hospital companies added 28,000. Manufacturing hired 13,000 workers after having reported drops in the previous two months. Governments cut 13,000 jobs overall, with drops in both federal and state employment. Average earnings fell by 1 cent to $23.58 an hour, while the average workweek was unchanged for the fourth straight month at 34.4 hours.
Friday’s report also revised September payrolls figures to an addition of 148,000 jobs from the initially reported 114,000 and August figures to 192,000 from the earlier 142,000.
The dollar, having already hit a seven-week high in the run up to the data, rose to 80.58 yen and also climbed against the euro, with the euro buying $1.2857. Wall Street stock futures also rose. The FTSEurofirst 300 index of top European shares tripled earlier gains to 0.6 percent and an MSCI index of world shares was slightly higher and close to a two-week high.
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