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Jobless rate edges up to 7.3 percent in October

The U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs in October and the unemployment rate edged up to 7.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said today.

The job total was up 41,000 from the government’s revised September figure of 163,000. Reuters reported that the October data suggested the partial federal government shutdown had less of an effect on the economy than experts feared.

"Clearly what transpired was businesses viewed the shutdown as a temporary phenomenon and that the economy was still growing and would continue to grow going forward," Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Services in Troy, Mich., told the news service.

The government said the economy gained 60,000 more jobs in August and September than previously reported, and Reuters said that development suggested that the economy had forward momentum when the shutdown occurred.

Reuters said economists it polled had predicted that payrolls would rise by 125,000 in October.

The government said employment increased during the month in the leisure and hospitality, retail trade, professional and technical services, manufacturing and health care sectors.

The number of unemployed people was little changed, at 11.3 million. Among the unemployed, however, the number who reported being on temporary layoff increased by 448,000, the government said, a figure that includes furloughed federal employees who were classified as unemployed on a temporary layoff.

The number of long-term unemployed — those jobless for 27 weeks or more — was little changed at 4.1 million in October. They accounted for 36.1 percent of the unemployed. The government said the number of long-term unemployed has declined by 954,000 this year.

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons was little changed, at 8.1 million in October. Those people were working part time because their hours had been cut or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

The government said there were 2.3 million people in October who wanted work and had looked for a job sometime during the past 12 months, the same number as in September. They weren’t counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work during the four weeks that preceded the survey.

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