Washington: The US added 171,000 new jobs in October while the unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 7.9 percent, in the last litmus test of economic recovery, four days before the presidential election that is evenly poised.
The unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.9 percent in October, from 7.8 percent in September, as more workers joined the labour force, the US Bureau of Labour Statistics report Friday said, adding employment rose in professional and business services, health care and retail trade.
Total non-farm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October, the report said.
The latest figures are probably good news for President Barack Obama who takes on his Republican rival Mitt Romney on November 6 in the race for the White House.
"The figures determined that there has been a net job gain under his (Obama's) presidency, and they allayed widespread suspicion that the previous month's large drop in the unemployment rate, below 8 percent for the first time since he took office, might have been a one-month statistical fluke," the New York Times commented.
Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since President Franklin D Roosevelt.
Hitting out at Obama, Romney slammed his economic policies saying, "Friday's increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill."
"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," Romney said in a statement.
"For four years, President Obama's policies have crushed America's middle class," Romney said.
The Obama campaign defended its economic policies and sought to take advantage of Friday's data.
"While more work remains to be done, Friday's employment report provides further evidence that the US economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Alan Krueger, the chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, said.
First Published: Friday, November 2, 2012, 21:33