US economy creates 171,000 jobs in October

2 Nov 12
The US economy added 171,000 jobs last month, but the unemployment rate increased slightly as more people began looking for work, according to official figures released today.

By Nick Mann | 2 November 2012

The US economy added 171,000 jobs last month, but the unemployment rate increased slightly as more people began looking for work, according to official figures released today.

October saw the unemployment rate reach 7.9%, which the US Department of Labor said was ‘essentially unchanged’ from the 7.8% rate recorded the previous month. The size of the US labour force increased by 578,000 to 155.6 million over the month, it noted.

Today’s figures also include an upward revision to the number of jobs created in September – up from the lower-than-average 114,000 originally reported to 148,000, which is more in line with the average of 157,000 recorded so far this year.

Hurricane Sandy, which hit the US East Coast in late October, had ‘no discernible impact’ on the month’s data, the department noted.

With the figures representing the last employment data before next week’s presidential election, the Republican candidate for the White House, Mitt Romney, said the increase in the unemployment rate was a ‘sad reminder’ the US economy was at a ‘virtual standstill’.

‘On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity,’ he said. ‘For four years, President Obama’s policies have crushed America’s middle class. For four years, President Obama has told us that things are getting better and that we’re making progress. For too many American families, those words ring hollow.’

Romney also claimed the jobless rate was higher than when current President Barack Obama took office. In January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated as president, the jobless rate was 7.9%, although for February 2009, his first full month in office, it stood at 8.3%.

Alan Krueger, chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said: ‘While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the US economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

‘It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.’

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