American job creation improved in October with 171,000 new jobs but the unemployment rate moved higher to 7.9 percent, setting the stage for a final push to the finish line in the heated presidential campaign.
Economists had been expecting the report to show a net of 125,000 new jobs and a steadying of the unemployment rate at 7.8 percent. Nomura Securities predicted the rate would fall to 7.7 percent, but most expected no change.
Most of the job creation came in the services sector, with a gain of 150,000, while government employment rolls saw a collective decrease of 13,000, according to the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“The labor market continued to improve in October, generating 171,000 new jobs, providing a needed boost to recovering consumer sentiment and bolstering optimism for the upcoming holiday season,” said Ken Goldstein, economist at The Conference Board.
A broader measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those employed part-time who would rather work full-time ticked lower to 14.6 percent.