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Pre-Election Labor Department Report: Employment and Wages Up, Jobless Claims Down


In the final national employment report before the Tuesday, Nov. 8 presidential election, the U.S. Labor Department reported Friday morning the economy added 161,000 jobs in October, contributing to a drop in the U.S. unemployment rate to 4.9 percent. The Labor Department also bumped up the number of new jobs in September to 181,000.

According to the newest figures, average hourly earnings for private sector workers rose 2.8 percent in October, the strongest year-to-year growth since June 2009. Some analysts feared Hurricane Matthew, which battered the southeastern U.S. in October, could have put a drag on the economy—and employment in particular—but statistics indicate it had no significant impact.

Initial jobless claims also remained near 40-year lows in October, a good barometer of current and pending layoffs.