Hurricane Sandy didn’t deter the Bureau of Labor Statistics from issuing the last jobs report of the year. There was a cloud of doubt that the report would not surface because of Sandy’s wrath, but it is, indeed, out and the picture looks relatively the same.
Close to 171,000 jobs were added in October and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged. The last report showed a 7.8 percent unemployment rate, but this report shows an uptick to 7.9 percent. The recently added jobs come in addition to the 84,000 adjusted jobs numbers from August and September, and is a strong indicator of the resilience of the American workforce.
The department also found that productivity increased at a 1.9 percent annual rate during the third quarter of 2012.
The numbers come at a critical time of the year. There are four days remaining before the election and the Republican challenger is trying to use the numbers to make the argument that the unemployment rate going up a tenth of a point is unsatisfactory. To be fair, the unemployment rate went up because there are more people throwing their hats back into the employment search ring.
Still, folks are concerned that President Obama has not done enough on the job front for every American. The unemployment rate for African Americans is still alarmingly high at 14.3 percent, up from 13.4 percent in September.
Despite sour news for certain sectors, research shows that the economy is recovering at a quicker pace than previously noted. This time four years ago jobs had fallen by 533,000 and unemployment had risen from 6.5 percent to 6.7 percent. When taken in that context, one can see that jobs have been added, even if only sluggishly.