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Jobless rate below 8%, candidates vague about jobs in debate

Job applicants wait to meet potential employers at the NYC Startup Job Fair held at 7 World Trade Center on Sept. 28, 2012 in New York City.

Catherine Rampell from the New York Times and Cardiff Garcia of the FT Alphaville blog wrap up this week's business headlines.

On September's jobs numbers:

Catherine Rampell: The biggest surprise is probably on the household survey side, which showed that the number of people who had jobs went up by almost 900,000. That's a gigantic number -- a gigantic, gigantic number. That is basically what pushed down the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent, which has caused lots of conspiracy theorists to rear their ugly heads...So that was definitely a surprise.

On the upward revisions of the unemployment numbers from previous months:

Rampell: It's very volatile. The thing with this report is we always make a big deal out of it whenever it comes out, but there is so much noise in the report. I mean, especially from month-to-month. And there are always big revisions because there's a big margin of error and not everybody in the country can get surveyed.

Cardiff Garcia: I also think that this was a very comforting report. So a good, not a great report. It's one more data point that the recovery itself has been more resilient than we thought in the worst moments. And basically I think confirms something that I sort of vaguely remember you saying almost a year ago, Kai, that the economy we had then was more or less the economy we'd have going into the election. I think that's absolutely the case. Doesn't mean we can get complacent, but it does mean the recovery itself is on a sound footing.

For more analysis, listen to the full audio above.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
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