News Column

Final Jobs Report Before Presidential Vote

Nov. 2, 2012
Final Jobs Report

The final U.S. jobs report before the presidential election was to come Friday, a day after a private firm reported 158,000 jobs were added, ahead of estimates.

The ADP National Employment Report, sponsored by the payroll company and maintained by Macroeconomic Advisers LLC, beat many economists' forecasts by about 23,000 jobs.

The U.S. Labor Department's October report, to be released at 8:30 a.m. EDT, will give the U.S. non-farm unemployment rate and job growth.

Many economists predicted the unemployment rate would inch up to 7.9 percent from September's 7.8 percent. They also suggest non-farm payrolls would rise between 120,000 and 125,000 jobs, after rising 114,000 in September.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics report is widely seen as a political wild card, potentially giving a boost to the campaign of President Barack Obama or Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, depending on what it says.

The bureau said Monday it might have to hold up the report's release because of delays caused by Hurricane Sandy. But it confirmed Wednesday the report would be released as originally scheduled.

A small group of conservatives complained Monday the possible delay was an Obama administration ploy to keep the report from becoming public until after Tuesday's election -- a contention the bureau, the department's fact-finding agency, flatly denied.

A month ago, some conservatives denounced September's jobs report, which lowered the unemployment rate 0.3 percentage points to the lowest level since Obama took office. They suggested the figures were changed to help Obama's re-election chances. The economy added 114,000 that month, the bureau said.

Economists calculate the U.S. labor market needs to add at least 250,000 jobs a month for several years to bring the jobless rate to below 6 percent, MarketWatch reported. The last time the rate was below 6 percent was in July 2008, when it was 5.8 percent, the BLS says.

The Great Recession started in December 2007 and took a particularly sharp downturn in September 2008.

The unemployment rate was 6.2 percent in August and September 2008, 6.6 percent in October, 6.8 percent in November and 7.2 percent in December.

The rate comes from a survey of 60,000 households and the jobs-growth figure comes from a survey of 141,000 business and government agencies representing some 486,000 individual work sites, the BLS says.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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