US jobless rate ticks up
- Published: 2/11/2012 at 08:48 PM
- Online news:
The US unemployment rate rose to 7.9% in October from 7.8% the previous month, the government said Friday in a highly anticipated report ahead of Tuesday's presidential election.
Job seekers attend a career fair in New York in August.
Though the jobless rate ticked up a notch, the economy added 171,000 jobs in October, well above expectations.
The Labor Department noted job growth in professional and business services, health care and the retail sector, while governments trimmed their payrolls.
The number of unemployed people -- 12.3 million -- was slightly higher, following a dip in September.
Most analysts had forecast the rise in the unemployment rate, but the job growth far outpaced the 125,000 estimate.
The better-than-expected jobs report serves as the final snapshot on the economy as President Barack Obama battles for re-election next Tuesday in a neck-and-neck race against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The Labor Department's sharp revisions to previous months numbers showed a substantial improvement in job growth since mid-2012.
The department raised its estimates for August and September job growth by 33%.
A rolling three-month average suggests a job creation trend that is picking up pace: the US added 170,000 jobs per month in the August-October period, compared with 146,000 in the three months to September and 94,000 in the prior period.
The private sector again led the jobs gain.
A net 184,000 private-sector jobs were added in October, a jump of 44% from September and the best growth since February, while governments pared 13,000.
"The president's election strategists will have something to cheer about in the final four days of the campaign," said Sal Guatieri at BMO Capital Markets.
"Job growth improved meaningfully in October, though a jump in labor force participation lifted the unemployment rate slightly. This suggests the economy is gathering a little momentum, and that GDP growth will improve further in the fourth quarter from the 2.0% pace of the third quarter."
Details of the jobs report revealed a mixed picture of the labour market, where 18.8 million people remain either officially unemployed or have dropped out of the workforce.
The number of long-term unemployed, people without work for at least 27 weeks, rose by 158,000 in October to 5.0 million.
Those working part time for "economic reasons", either because their hours have been cut back or they cannot find full-time, fell by 269,000 to 8.3 million.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency