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Kimberly Amadeo

The Economy Added 171,000 Jobs in October

By November 2, 2012

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The economy added a welcome 171,000 jobs in October, according to the last Employment Report before next week's Presidential election. The BLS assured us that the numbers were not affected by Superstorm Sandy, since the surveys were completed before the storm hit.

The unemployment rate rose a bit, to 7.9%, as 578,000 people were added to the labor force, making it now more than 155 million strong. Where did these additional job-seekers come from? There were 53,000 more workers in October who voluntarily quit their old job and went in search of a new one. More than 50,000 new workers were added because they started looking for work for the first time. Another 40,000 more people became unemployed because they lost their jobs.

Unfortunately, there were 158,000 more long-term unemployed than in September, bringing the total to more than 5 million. These people have been looking for work for six months or more.  (Source: BLS, Employment Situation Summary )

The Bureau of Labor Statistics business survey reported job gains and losses in the following sectors:

  • Leisure and hospitality -- 28,000 vs 36,000 in September.
  • Business and professional services -- 51,000 vs 8,000 in the prior month.
  • Health care -- 32,500 vs 40,200 last month.
  • Retail trade -- 36,400 vs 27,300 in September.

The losers were not surprising. The auto industry lost 2,100 jobs, following similar losses in September and August. However, manufacturing jobs overall added 13,000 jobs thanks to other sectors.

As usual, government  lost 13,000 jobs, despite a brief uptick in August and September.

Temporary help added 13,000 jobs, as employers started bringing on help for the Halloween and holiday shopping season.

What This Means for You

It looks like job creation is picking up, along with consumer confidence, the housing market and retail sales. Expect this trend to continue as the election gets decided, and Congress gets to work on resolving the fiscal cliff.

If you are one of the 12.3 million Americans who are unemployed, think about looking for work in the sectors that are growing. If you've been looking for a long time, share your frustration in What Causes Unemployment?

New! Watch the Video - Understanding the Unemployment Rate

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