U.S. economy shows some signs of life, adds 80,000 jobs

The Takeaway

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It’s not much, but it’s better than losing jobs.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s monthly jobs report came out this morning and showed the U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs in October — fewer than the 158,000 added in September but enough to take the unemployment rate from 9.1 percent to 9 percent.

Behind the numbers was a continuing trend of limited private sector job growth offset by layoffs of government employees. The private sector added 104,000 jobs, but governments across the country shed 24,000 jobs as they try to cope with budget problems caused by several years of no to slow economic growth.

On Wednesday, the New York Times reported, the Federal Reserve forecast that the unemployment rate would only fall another half a point, to between 8.5 percent and 8.7 percent throughout all of 2012.

This does, however, represent 13 consecutive months of the economy adding jobs. October 2010 was the first month in a string of job creation, though there have been no months with a great deal of new hiring.

Where the economy goes from here remains unknown. The fate of Greece and its debt could weigh heavily on the economy, as could U.S. government budget cuts.

The Congressional committee charged with finding budget cuts demanded by this summer’s debt ceiling increase have shown few signs of progress. Draconian cuts are demanded if there is no agreement from the committee.


“The Takeaway” is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.

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