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Unemployment ticks up to 7.9%, 171,000 jobs added

Job fair

The much-awaited government's October jobs report is out this morning. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is reporting that the economy added 171,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent, beating economists expectations. The healthcare, retail, business services, and construction sectors all added jobs while manufacturing was flat.

Gus Faucher, senior economist with PNC Financial Services Group, says the increase in the unemployment rate reflects the fact that more people entered the labor force: "That's a good sign, if they're looking for work, that means they're more optimistic."

With the election only a few days away, the latest jobs report is likely to become political fodder. Mitt Romney's Twitter account has already responded to the October numbers:

For its part, the Obama campaign is likely to tout the fact that the economy has seen 25 consecutive months of jobs growth.

But Faucher says the employment picture is mixed: "We're still down by about four million jobs from where we were prior to the recession, on the hand the economy is creating jobs at a pretty decent pace, and we've seen the pace of job growth pick up over the past few months."

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.

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