US Unemployment Rises Slightly Despite Job Growth

WASHINGTON, November 2 (RIA Novosti) – The final jobs report before the Nov. 6 United States presidential election, released on Friday, shows the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent in October, despite the economy adding more jobs than expected, giving political ammunition to both presidential candidates in the final days of campaigning.

US employers added 171,000 jobs and hiring was stronger over the previous two months than what was originally reported. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September, but economists say that’s because the work force grew, as people who previously gave up looking for jobs reentered the market.

September marked the first time the US unemployment rate fell below 8 percent since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

The state of the American economy has been one of the cornerstones of the presidential election, with Obama citing eight years of Republican leadership under former president George W. Bush as the cause of the US financial crisis.

“We’ve made real progress these past four years. But, Colorado, we all know our work is not yet done,” Obama said at a rally in the state of Colorado on Thursday. “As long as there’s a single American who wants a job and can’t find one, our work is not done.” 

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney released a statement Friday slamming the newly released jobs numbers.

“Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill,” said Romney. “When I’m president, I’m going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last.”

Obama faces the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent facing re-election since Franklin D. Roosevelt more than six decades ago.

Both candidates are expected to address the unemployment report at campaign stops Friday, with just four days until the election. 

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