171K jobs added in Oct., unemployment rises slightly at 7.9%

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Associated Press

Posted on November 2, 2012 at 6:30 AM

Updated Friday, Nov 2 at 10:23 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. economy added 171,000 jobs in October, well above the predicted 121,000 jobs. With that, though, unemployment rose slightly to 7.9%, the U.S. Department of Labor said. It was 7.8 percent in September.

It's the last Labor Department monthly jobs report before next Tuesday's presidential election and could have an impact on the results.

Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month, up from 67,000 a month from April through June.

Still, President Barack Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt. The rate ticked up because more people without jobs started looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching.

However, the political effect of the report is unclear. Experts believe all but a few voters have likely made up their minds, particularly about the economy.

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