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US Unemployment Rate Edges Higher

  • VOA News

Job applicants receive interviews by Florida Marlins staff at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, October 24, 2012.

Job applicants receive interviews by Florida Marlins staff at Marlins Park in Miami, Florida, October 24, 2012.

The U.S. labor market added another 171,000 jobs in October even as the country's jobless rate edged higher.

The government reported Friday that as more workers looked for work, the unemployment rate hit 7.9 percent, up one-tenth of a percentage point from September.

This is the last major economic report before Tuesday's U.S. presidential election where much debate has focused on which candidate can cut the jobless rate and boost the country's sluggish economy.

When the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September, it was the lowest level during the White House tenure of President Barack Obama. The rate was 8 percent or worse for 44 straight months. Since World War II, no U.S. president has won reelection with an unemployment rate above 7.4 percent.

Friday, Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney said the one-tenth of a percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is a reminder that the economy is at a "virtual standstill."

At a campaign rally in the midwestern state of Ohio, Obama noted that the October job gains were the largest in eight months, which he called "real progress." But he added that more work has to be done to advance the economy.

"As long as there's a single American who wants a job and can't find one, as long as there're families working harder but falling behind, as long as there's a child anywhere in this country who's languishing in poverty and barred from opportunity, our fight goes on," Obama said.

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