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Economy added 80,000 jobs in October; unemployment rate at 9%

November 4, 2011 |  6:14 am

Career fair
Employers added just 80,000 jobs to payrolls in October, fewer than analysts had expected, as cuts in the government and construction sectors continued to weigh down the national economy. The unemployment rate dipped only slightly, to 9.0% from 9.1% the month before, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Still, the government revised employment figures from previous months, saying the economy had added 158,000 jobs in September, more than the 103,000 than previously reported, and that it had gained 104,000 in August, nearly double the number it had previously reported for that month. Those revisions indicate that the economy is on firmer footing than it seemed to be just a few months ago, analysts say.

"I don't think there's any sign of a recession in this report," said Ryan Sweet, senior economist at Moody's Analytics. "Going forward, the labor market isn't booming, but I don't think there are any signs we're going to take a significant step back."

Private-sector employment led the growth in October, adding 104,000 jobs. The professional and business services, healthcare and leisure and hospitality sectors all performed well. The government sector shed 24,000 jobs and construction lost 20,000.

A separate report released earlier this week by Automatic Data Processing Inc. said that private sector employers added 110,000 jobs in October, buoyed by strength in service-providing sectors. Manufacturing growth slowed last month, the company said, as the industry shed 8,000 jobs.

Despite the job growth, many workers say that the positions being created are of lower quality than the ones they held before the recession. Wages and salaries grew just 0.3% in the three months ending Monday and benefits grew only 0.1%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Kevin Friedlander knows it. The 22-year-old Las Vegas resident got laid off from a warehousing job last month and is scrambling to find new work to support his wife and daughter. Each job he’s had since  he got out of the military three years ago pays less and seems more temporary than the one before, he said.

“With almost every job I’ve  had, every day I’ve gone into work it felt like it could be my last day,” he said. “Nothing feels secure, nothing feels stable.”

RELATED:

Weekly jobless claims drop below 400,000

October retail sales up 3.4% at major chains, less than expected

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says growth will be 'frustratingly slow'

-- Alana Semuels

Photo: Job seekers at a career fair in Minneapolis. Credit: Jim Moore/Associated Press

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