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The economy keeps adding jobs -- slowly

The Labor Department releases its last employment report before the election today. The U.S. has added jobs for 24 consecutive months, but at a slow rate.

CORRECTION: The original version of this story incorrectly identified the date of Mike Dueker's projected unemployment rate. The date is November 2013. The story below has been corrected.

As a preview to this morning's jobs number from the Labor Department, the payroll firm ADP yesterday found, in its own survey, 158,000 new jobs in October.

That suggests the 25th straight month of new jobs, and a 7.8 percent jobless rate on the way down.

"At this pace it will take a long time to get the unemployment rate down to five percent," says labor economist Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution. "Which is, I think, what we would need if we had a fully employed economy."

The healthcare and education sectors have been solid job creators, and economists are waiting for construction, amid signs new homes are going up again.

At this slow-and-steady job creation rate, Mike Dueker at Russell Investments, thinks a year from now unemployment will be 7.3 percent. That is, a bit of progress on the job front, whoever's in the White House in November 2013.

"They'll probably take credit for that," Dueker says, "but it's all kind of baked into the business cycle at this point."

About the author

Scott Tong is a correspondent for Marketplace’s sustainability desk, with a focus on energy, environment, resources, climate, supply chain and the global economy.

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