U.S. Sees Slight Improvement on the Jobs Front

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- While the labor market remains weak, a recent jobs report showed some signs of improvement.

The jobless rate fell to a six-month low in October. And, while the economy added fewer workers last month, more jobs were created in August and September than previously estimated. The unemployment rate edged down to 9% from 9.1% in September. Total payrolls rose 80,000 last month.

However, job gains in October were slightly disappointing given that economists had expected 95,000 new jobs, according to ThomsonOne Analytics.

"Despite the worse than expected numbers for October we are enthused by the upward revisions to the prior two months," writes David Semmens, economist with Standard Chartered Bank. The government said that payrolls rose by 104,000 instead of 57,000 in August, and by 158,000 instead of 103,000 in September.

Overall, Friday's report was met with relief given the low expectations going into the report.

"October's US Employment Report has pluses and minuses but, on balance, it is positive," writes Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist with research firm Capital Economics.

Economists expect a slow jobs recovery. The Federal Reserve estimates that unemployment will be at around 8.6% by the end of 2012. While the economy added slightly more than one million jobs in the past three months, almost 14 million Americans looking for work remain jobless.

Most economists largely shrugged off the lower read in unemployment. "This report still shows there is a massive way for the US economy to go before it starts making any real dent in its unemployment problem," says Semmens.

According to Reuters, the economy needs to grow at 2.5% per year over a sustained period and employers need to add 125,000 jobs consistently each month for the jobless rate to continue falling.

-- Written by Chao Deng in New York.

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