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U.S. Added 161,000 New Jobs In October; Wages Rise By 10 Cents

Job seekers look over forms while attending the first Los Angeles International Airport Job Fair for Veterans in Los Angeles on Sept. 14.

The U.S. added 161,000 new jobs in October, with workers seeing strong growth in wages, according to the monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Hourly earnings rose 10 cents over last month, a higher increase than anticipated. In total, wages — now averaging $25.92 an hour — are up 2.8 percent year over year.

That's the strongest annual growth in wages recorded since the recession, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The jobs growth was slightly under expectations — economists had predicted around 175,000 new jobs, NPR's John Ydstie reports.

But the report also revised upward the job growth for August and September. August had been pegged at 167,000 new jobs and is now at 176,000; September had been reported as 156,000 and is now 191,000.

In total, that's 44,000 additional new jobs over those two months.

The unemployment rate ticked down slightly, back to 4.9 percent, which is not a substantial shift, the BLS says. The labor participation rate also changed little, the bureau says, as did the number of people working part-time jobs who would prefer to work full time.

"Job growth has been one of the most positive features of the U.S. economy during this presidential campaign," John notes. "It's averaged over 200,000 a month for most of the past couple of years."

Friday's jobs report is, of course, the last one before the presidential election on Tuesday.

The October jobs report may have been affected by Hurricane Matthew, which struck the East Coast during the pay period examined for the report. That may have affected numbers for average weekly hours, which typically go down when extreme weather strikes. The October report showed the average workweek was unchanged at 34.4 hours.

But the hurricane was less likely to affect figures for overall employment, the BLS says.

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