Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Unemployment ticks up to 7.9 percent, U.S. job force grows
Job creation » Up modestly, but figures skewed by exclusion of those who have given up.
First Published Nov 02 2012 06:37 am • Last Updated Nov 02 2012 07:27 am

WASHINGTON • U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October and hiring was stronger over the previous two months than first thought. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September because the work force grew.

Still, President Barack Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt. The rate ticked up because more people without jobs started looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The Labor Department’s last look at hiring before Tuesday’s election did sketch a picture of a job market that is gradually gaining momentum after nearly stalling in the spring.

Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month, up from 67,000 a month from April through June.

The work force — the number of people either working or looking for work — rose by 578,000. And 410,000 more people said they were employed. The number of unemployed increased 170,000 to 12.3 million, pushing up the unemployment rate.

The increase in the work force "could be a sign that people are starting to see better job prospects and so should be read as another positive aspect to the report," said Julia Coronado, an economist at BNP Paribas.

Investors were pleased by the news. The Dow Jones industrial average futures were flat before it came out at 8:30 a.m. EDT, and within 30 minutes they were up 54 points.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note climbed to 1.77 percent from 1.72 percent, a sign that investors were moving money out of bonds and into stocks.

Friday’s report included a range of encouraging details.

The government revised its data to show that 84,000 more jobs were added in August and September than previously estimated. The jobs gains in October were widespread across industries. And the percentage of Americans working or looking for work rose for the second straight month.


story continues below
story continues below

The economy has added jobs for 25 straight months. There are now 580,000 more than when Obama took office.

But there were also signs of the economy’s persistent weakness. Average hourly pay dipped a penny to $23.58. In the past year, pay has risen just 1.6 percent. That has trailed inflation, which rose 2 percent.

The October jobs report was compiled before Superstorm Sandy struck the East Coast earlier this week and devastated many businesses.

The nascent housing recovery is finally generating jobs. Construction firms added 17,000 positions, the most since January. Manufacturers added 13,000 jobs after shedding workers in the previous two months. Professional services such as architects and computer systems providers also added jobs, as did retailers, hotels and restaurants, and education and health care. Government overall shed 13,000 jobs, after three months of gains.

The economy has picked up a bit in recent weeks. Americans are buying more big-ticket items, like cars and appliances. Auto companies reported steady sales gains last month despite losing three days of business to the storm in heavily populated areas of the Northeast.

Yet businesses remain nervous about the economy’s future course. Many are concerned that Congress will fail to reach a budget deal before January. If lawmakers can’t strike an agreement, sharp tax increases and spending cuts will take effect next year and possibly trigger another recession.

American companies are also nervous about the economic outlook overseas. Europe’s financial crisis has pushed much of that region into recession and cut into U.S. exports and corporate profits.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.