WASHINGTON -- U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October and hiring was stronger over the previous two months than first thought. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September because the work force grew.
The Labor Department's last look at hiring before Tuesday's election sketched a picture of a job market that is gradually gaining momentum after nearly stalling in the spring.
Since July, the economy has created an average of 173,000 jobs a month, up from 67,000 a month from April through June.
Still, President Barack Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt. The rate ticked up because more people without jobs started looking for work. The government only counts people as unemployed if they are actively searching.
CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
The Associated Press