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U.S. sees 3-month surge in job growth
Labor » 171,000 more find work in October, even as unemployment rises to 7.9%.

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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, average hourly pay for most workers rose only 1.1 percent. That’s the smallest annual gain on records dating back to 1965.

href="http://storify.com/DigitalFirst/november-jobs-report-reaction" target="_blank">View the story "Jobs report: Not bad for Obama, but it can be spun" on Storify]

At a glance

Most industries report job gains

Here’s a look at the jobs added or lost in each sector:

Sector of industry Oct. 2012 Sept. 2012

Construction 17,000 2,000

Manufacturing 13,000 -14,000

Retail 36,400 27,300

Transportation, warehousing 2,200 7,200

Information (telecom, publishing) 1,000 -9,000

Financial services 4,000 14,000

Professional services

(legal, engineering, temp help) 51,000 8,000

Education and health 25,000 50,000

Hotels, restaurants, entertainment 28,000 36,000

Government -13,000 20,000

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Because more people sought jobs than found one, the number of unemployed rose 170,000, to 12.3 million. That pushed up the unemployment rate.

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

The job gains that were gained were spread broadly across most industries. Businesses added 184,000 jobs in October, the most in eight months. Government overall cut 13,000.

The nascent housing recovery is finally generating jobs. Construction companies added 17,000 positions, the most since January. Manufacturers added 13,000 jobs after shedding 27,000 in the previous two months.

Professional services such as architects and computer systems providers also added jobs. So did retailers, hotels and restaurants, and health care.

Vocus Inc., based in Beltsville-Md., has ramped up hiring this year to keep up with the rapid growth in demand for its digital marketing software. It has nearly doubled its staff this year to about 750. Most of the new hires have been sales positions. It plans to hire at least 200 more people next year.

The company is benefiting as more businesses switch from newspaper ads and the yellow pages to social media and online search engines. Vocus expects revenue to jump more than 50 percent this year compared to 2011.

Companies "are still willing to make investments in marketing software," Rick Rudman, Vocus’ chief executive, said. "We’re helping people grow their businesses."

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The economy has shown many signs of picking up a bit. Americans are buying more high-cost 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 weaken the economy.

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.

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