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US added surprisingly strong 204,000 jobs in October

Published 9:54am Friday, November 8, 2013

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs in October, an unexpected burst of hiring in a month when the government was partly shut down for 16 days. And far more jobs were added in August and September than previously thought.

The Labor Department said Friday that the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent from 7.2 percent in September. But that was likely because furloughed federal workers were temporarily counted as unemployed.

The surprising job growth shows the economy was stronger in October than many economists expected it would be. Activity at service companies and factories also accelerated last month, an earlier report showed. The figures suggest that many companies shrugged off the shutdown, an encouraging sign for the economy.

The job figures are a major factor for the Federal Reserve in deciding when to reduce its economic stimulus. The Fed has been buying bonds each month to keep long-term interest rates low to encourage borrowing and spending.

Economists disagreed about the impact of the data on the Fed. Some said last month’s strong hiring probably isn’t sufficient for the Fed to scale back its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program when it meets Dec. 17-18.

 


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