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

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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.

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