WASHINGTON, (Pakistan Point News - APP - 04th Nov, 2016 ) - A final glimpse of the US economy before next week's bitterly fought presidential election delivered a picture of relative health on Friday, with job creation up and unemployment falling. The jobs report for October showed the United States adding a solid 161,000 new positions while the jobless rate fell to 4.9 percent, according to Labor Department figures. The results appeared unlikely to lift the fortunes of either Democrat Hillary Clinton or Republican Donald Trump, who were both due to campaign Friday in the battleground states of Ohio and New Hampshire where unemployment is below the national average.
Trump's campaign, however, called the report "disastrous," using the occasion to repeat its claims that the current administration of President Barack Obama has presided over a pronounced decline the workforce. Analysts however said the jobs report showed steady momentum in the world's largest economy, with the Labor Department revising upward its job creation numbers for the previous two months by a total of 44,000 positions, taking the average for the past three months to a strong 176,000 new jobs.
Average hourly earnings also saw their strongest gains in seven years, rising 2.8 percent year-on-year to $25.92. Ian Shepherdson of Pantheon Macroeconomics said he expected gains in average hourly earnings to continue into 2017. "With the labor market very tight, employers will struggle to resist," he said in a client note. The unemployment rate was little-changed from prior months, declining a tenth of a point to return to the level recorded between June and August.
However, the jobless rate among Hispanics fell sharply from 6.4 percent to 5.7 percent. Despite steady job creation, the recovery has not eased the persistent economic anxieties of many in the electorate. Republican nominee Trump has portrayed the United States as being in sharp economic decline and impugned the integrity of Federal agencies which produce economic data. Labor force participation was little changed at 62.8 percent and the number of long-term unemployed was steady at 2.
0 million people, about a quarter of total unemployment, according to Friday's numbers. For the Trump camp, however, the glass was less than half full: "Nearly half a million people left the workforce last month, a painful and massive decline," National Policy Director Stephen Miller said in a statement, claiming that 94 million Americans were not working. That figure refers to Americans outside the labor force, including students, retirees, stay-at-home parents, and others, only a small fraction of whom are actually seeking work, according to Labor Department data.