The U.S. economy generated 171,000 new jobs in October, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, indicating continued moderate economic growth. Today’s announcement showed unemployment ticked up slightly to 7.9 percent last month – but that 0.1 percent increase, resulting from more Americans seeking to enter the workforce, suggests that a stronger labor market is generating more optimism for potential job prospects. By contrast, the economy created an average of only 67,000 jobs per month last spring, when growth had slowed markedly.
This month’s job creation data — based on information from business establishments — compares favorably with September’s number, just revised sharply upward by the bureau to 148,000. In the government’s October survey of households, nearly a million people entered the labor force while 1.3 million reported gaining employment during the past two months. The number of Americans either working or looking for work rose in October by 578,000, with 410,000 more people saying they were employed.
Campaigning in Ohio, President Obama hailed the new jobs report as further proof that the country is headed in the right direction and said, “We have made real progress.”
But GOP challenger Mitt Romney called the uptick in unemployment a sign that the economy is stagnating. “The economy is at a virtual standstill,” he said in a statement. “On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity. For four years, President Obama’s policies have crushed America’s middle class… When I’m president, I’m going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last.”
Still, if the Republican nominee cited a BLS figure today, does that mean there is no White House plot to “rig” unemployment data? Oh, sorry… that was last month’s conspiracy theory.