Chicago Sun-Times
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October jobless rate is 7.9 percent: 171,000 jobs created. Good news for Obama

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COLUMBUS, Ohio--The last jobs report before the election was out Friday morning and the 7.9 percent October rate--virtually unchanged from last month--by not jumping to 8 percent--is a break for President Barack Obama. If the number had gone higher--it would have given Mitt Romney at last chance before the Tuesday balloting to mount a strong argument about Obama's tenure over the economy.

The Obama team will be able to argue that there has been 32 months of job growth and the number of "discouraged workers"-- workplace dropouts--has declined. Romney has been hitting Obama on that point.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics said 171,00 jobs were created last month. The 8 percent figure has become a political football--Obama had said that unemployment would drop below 8 in order to get his stimulus bill passed.

Below, from the BLS...

Both the unemployment rate (7.9 percent) and the number of unemployed persons (12.3
million) were essentially unchanged in October, following declines in September.
(See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for blacks increased to 14.3
percent in October, while the rates for adult men (7.3 percent), adult women (7.2
percent), teenagers (23.7 percent), whites (7.0 percent), and Hispanics (10.0 percent)
showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.9 percent in October
(not seasonally adjusted), down from 7.3 percent a year earlier. (See tables A-1,
A-2, and A-3.)

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was little changed at 5.0 million. These individuals accounted for 40.6 percent of
the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force rose by 578,000 to 155.6 million in October, and the labor
force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent. Total employment rose by 410,000
over the month. The employment-population ratio was essentially unchanged at 58.8
percent, following an increase of 0.4 percentage point in September. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 269,000 to 8.3 million in October, partially
offsetting an increase of 582,000 in September. These individuals were working part
time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a
full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In October, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, little
different from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These
individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had
looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed
because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See
table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 813,000 discouraged workers in October, a
decline of 154,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.6 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in October had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding
the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See
table A-16.)

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 2, 2012 7:30 AM.

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