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US Service Firms Grow More Slowly In October

Superstorm Sandy could drag on growth in the final three months of the year, economists noted. Still, most expect the impact to be temporary. Hiring and growth should pick up again early next year when homes and businesses damaged by the storm are rebuilt or repaired, they said.

The storm had no impact on Monday's report, the ISM said, because the survey was completed before it made landfall.

Employers added 171,000 jobs in October and hiring was also stronger in August and September than first thought, the government said Friday. The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September. The increase mainly reflected the fact that many more people began looking for work last month and not all of them found jobs.

Service companies have been a key source of job growth this year. They have created about 90 percent of the net jobs added since January. Still, many of the new service jobs have been low-paying retail and restaurant positions.

The unemployment report was the last major snapshot of the economy before Tuesday's elections.

President Barack Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has made high unemployment and the weak economy the major point in his effort to deny Obama a second term.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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