The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

November 8, 2013

US added unexpectedly strong 204,000 jobs in Oct.

Bump in unemployment rate related to shutdown

(Continued)

"The one month of job growth is not enough to allow them to pull the trigger," says Patrick O'Keefe, director of economic research at CohnReznick. "It leaves them on hold at least for the next meeting."

Others said the job growth might prod the Fed to start slowing its stimulus by year's end.

"In our opinion, the data would justify the Fed reducing the pace of its asset purchases in December," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a research note.

The government's report showed that employers added an average of 202,000 jobs from August through October — up sharply from an average of 146,000 from May through July. And they added 45,000 more jobs in August and 15,000 more in September than the government had previously estimated.

Private businesses added 212,000 jobs last month. That was the most since February. By contrast, federal government jobs fell by 12,000.

"While we have to take today's report with a grain of salt, we are impressed by the strength of the report," said Dan Greenhaus, chief global strategist at BTIG, a brokerage firm. "Given the impact of the shutdown, we have to wait until November's report to get a fuller picture of what's happening this fall but we're happy enough in the meantime."

Some consumers may spend more as the effect of tax increases that took effect at the start of the year diminishes. In addition, banks are returning to health and may soon lend more freely. Even Europe is slowly recovering, and growth in Japan has picked up, which could boost U.S. exports.

Some companies expect a healthy holiday shopping season and are staffing up accordingly. UPS is filling 55,000 temporary jobs for the holidays. UPS says it expects to pick up 34 million packages on Dec. 16, which it thinks will be the season's highest-volume day.

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