With Election Day four days away, the latest jobs report showed the economy added a stronger-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October but the unemployment rate inched higher to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.
- Economists surveyed by Reuters had expected the Labor Department's report to show payroll employment grew by 125,000 jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent.
- The report, the final major piece of data before voters go to the polls, is unlikely to be a game changer in the presidential race. President Obama is likely to seize on the bigger than expected jobs gain to bolster his argument that the economy is on the mend, while his rival Mitt Romney will press his case that the economic recovery is progressing too slowly.
- In another encouraging sign, jobs growth in prior months was revised upwards. In September, payrolls grew 148,000 versus an initial estimate of 114,000. The payroll gain in August was revised up to 192,000 compared to the original estimate of 142,000.
- The Labor Department said the latest report does not reflect any effects from Hurricane Sandy.