Squeaking in just before the elections, and right on schedule (despite superstorm Sandy-related delay rumors), the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its October jobs report Friday.
With an additional 171,000 jobs and unemployment at 7.9%, this month's numbers offer a reassuring nudge for the U.S. economy's slow recovery.
For the record, last week's hurricane did not have any effect on the statistics gathered. The household survey data collection was completed before the storm, within normal ranges nationally and in the areas affected by the hurricane.
"People were worried we were hitting a slump in our growth. I think this is a continuation of the improvement in employment and modest increases in total employment as well. We would always like to be better, but this should undermine the claims that we have stalled or are not improving," says Randal P. Ellis, professor of economics at Boston University and past president of the American Society of Healthcare Economists.
Last month, the U.S. unemployment rate made the surprising drop from 8.1 to 7.8 percent. This month unemployment increased slightly to 7.9 percent—a figure economists attribute to rounding statistics, and the BLS says is "essentially unchanged" over last month.