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Job growth rises, but unemployment rate flat in October

Employment increased by 171,000 in October, leaving the unemployment rate essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.

Hurricane Sandy had no discernible effect on employment data for October, the bureau reported. Both the unemployment rate and the number of jobless people, at 12.3 million, were essentially unchanged in October after declines in September.

Employment growth has averaged 157,000 a month this year, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.

In October, employment rose in professional and business services, health care and retail trade.

Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in October, with gains in services to buildings and dwellings (up 13,000) and in computer systems design (up 7,000). Temporary-help employment changed little in October and has shown little net change during the past three months. Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.6 million since its most recent low point in September 2009.

Health care added 31,000 jobs in October. Job gains continued in ambulatory health care services (up 25,000) and hospitals (up 6,000). During the past year employment in health care has risen by 296,000.

Retail trade added 36,000 jobs in October, with gains in motor vehicles and parts dealers (up 7,000), and in furniture and home furnishings stores (up 4,000). Retail trade has added 82,000 jobs during the past three months, with most of the gain occurring in motor vehicles and parts dealers, clothing and accessories stores and miscellaneous store retailers.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend upward, adding 28,000 during the month. This industry has added 811,000 jobs since a recent low point in January 2010, with most of the gain occurring in food services.

Employment in construction edged up in October. The gain was concentrated in specialty trade contractors (up 17,000).

Manufacturing employment changed little in October. On net, manufacturing employment has shown little change since April.

In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million. Those people accounted for 40.6 percent of the unemployed.

The civilian labor force rose by 578,000, to 155.6 million, in October, and the labor force participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent. Total employment rose by 410,000 during the month. The number of people employed part time for economic reasons fell by 269,000, to 8.3 million, in October, partially offsetting an increase of 582,000 in September. Those people were working part time because their hours had been cut or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In October, 2.4 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, little different from a year earlier.

Click here to visit the Department of Labor website.

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