The Labor Department announced on Friday that U.S employers hired 171,000 new workers during October. That topped the 125,000 new hires expected by economists, the Washington Post noted.
More workers returned to the job market last month, causing the unemployment rate to tick up to 7.9%, compared to 7.8% in September. The government revised the number of new jobs added in September from an originally-reported 114,000, up to 148,000. August’s new jobs number was also revised higher.
Retailers added 36,000 jobs in October. Entertainment and hospitality employers hired 28,000 new workers, while construction businesses brought on 17,000 new employees.
Despite the gains, wages remained almost flat with average earnings at $23.58 an hour, down 1 cent.
Both presidential campaigns seized on the jobs report. A White House official called it proof that President Obama’s policies were improving the economy. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, released a statement saying that the new employment data showed an economy at “a virtual standstill.”