Employers added 171,000 jobs in October

November 03, 2012 mbuckley

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY

Businesses added 184,000 jobs, while federal, state and local governments cut 13,000.

Employers added 171,000 jobs in October, the Labor Department said Friday in the last employment report before the presidential election. The growth was better than what many economists had predicted. The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9%, from 7.8%, as formerly discouraged workers resumed looking for work. The labor force -- those working and looking for work -- increased by 578,000. In afternoon trading, major stock indexes were modestly lower although stocks had initially traded higher after the report was released. It seemed as though investors were undecided over whether the jobs report was strong enough to boost confidence in the market. Businesses added 184,000 jobs, while federal, state and local governments cut 13,000. That was the highest amount of government job losses since June. Reductions in government jobs have hampered the jobs recovery the past two years. Professional and business services, health care and retail drove the private-sector job additions. Later Friday, the Commerce Department said companies boosted orders for manufactured goods by the largest amount in 18 months in September, but remained cautious in ordering goods that signal plans to expand and modernize.Factory orders rose 4.8% from August, a month when orders fell 5.1%. September's gain was the biggest since March 2011 and was driven by demand for commercial aircraft, a volatile category. Demand for core capital goods, viewed as a proxy for business investment plans, edged up a slight 0.2% in September following a 0.3% rise in August. The two modest gains followed two months of huge declines. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had estimated that non-farm employment would rise by 125,000 last month, with businesses adding 124,000 jobs and governments adding 1,000. The Labor Department revised up job gains for August and September by a total 84,000. Gains for August were revised to 192,000 from 142,000, and September's were revised to 148,000 from 114,000.