October job report shows economy moving in right direction

November 2, 2012

With less than a week until the presidential election, the release of the October jobs report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the economic recovery is continuing at a steady pace.

According to the Washington Post, U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October with business analysts seeing this as a sign of cautious optimism in a variety of industry sectors. The number of people actively looking for work also increased with the nationwide unemployment rate to rising to 7.9 percent, an indication to economists that a recovery is on track even in an uncertain fiscal climate.

While the figures are only a snapshot of the current job market, the U.S. manufacturing industry is also showing healthy signs of recovery. According to Reuters, figures released by the Commerce Department showed that new orders for manufactured goods had increased by 4.8 percent in September, the largest gain since March 2011. This was driven by a number of high-profile orders in the transportation industry, a volatile sector of production that ensures a prudent manufacturing strategy throughout the financial year.

Some reports had indicated that manufacturing companies were reluctant to commit to a long-term business strategy until the election was over, however the figures show that job creation is happening across a number of related industry sectors. Retailers added 36,000 jobs in October while the construction industry reported a gain of 17,000 positions, both indications that consumer confidence and the ability to purchase manufactured goods is returning.

Both political parties took different views of the increase in jobs across the country. Mitt Romney has been scathing of the level of unemployment under President Obama, and while the figure has remained under 8 percent for the second successive month, he called it a "sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill," a claim that was refuted by the White House.

"While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression," said Alan Krueger, a White House economic adviser. "It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 32 straight months, and a total of 5.4 million jobs have been added during that period."