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Job Growth Underwhelming for October

As John Steele Gordon wrote earlier today, the economists predicted another 95,000 jobs in October, and we fell about 15,000 short of that, according to the Labor Department report:

The nation’s economy added 80,000 jobs in October, the fewest in four months as job growth again fell short of expectations.

The unemployment rate nonetheless fell to 9 percent, down from 9.1 percent in September, the Labor Department reported Friday. The jobless rate has been stuck between 9 and 9.2 percent since April.

It’s not all bad news though. The job growth from previous months was revised up, meaning that we added more jobs than we thought. This ended up lowering the unemployment rate from 9.1 percent to 9 percent, as the Wall Street Journal explains:

The number of jobs added comes from a survey of establishment payrolls. The unemployment rate comes from a separate survey of U.S. households. The household survey is much smaller than the establishment survey, and as a result it can swing around a lot — and move the unemployment rate up and down when it does. That volatility is a big reason why economists usually, but not always, pay much more attention to the establishment report.

We’re only one year away from the presidential election, and Obama has been unable to make serious progress on job creation. And this report indicates that the unemployment rate is likely to remain bleak for the foreseeable future. Obama now has a choice to make. He can continue to blame Republicans in Congress for the economic problems, or he can actually try to work with them on job creation proposals. Because if the unemployment rate doesn’t markedly improve over the next year, no amount of finger pointing is going to help him on Election Day.