WASHINGTON — U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October, and hiring was stronger in August and September than first thought. But the unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September.
The U.S. Labor Department’s last look at hiring before Tuesday’s election sketched a picture of a job market that’s gradually gaining momentum after nearly stalling in the spring.
Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month. That’s up from 67,000 a month from April through June.
Still, President Barack Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt. The rate rose in October because more people began seeking work and were counted as unemployed. The government counts people without jobs as unemployed only if they’re looking for one.