U.S. Job Gains Strongest in Seven Months

U.S. Job Gains Strongest in Seven Months (Reuters)

New U.S. jobs soared at the sharpest rate in seven months in October, the government reported on Friday, helped by a surge in construction activity as hurricane-battered areas in the Southeast were rebuilt. A surprisingly strong 337,000 jobs were added to payrolls last month — twice the 169,000-job growth that Wall Street economists had forecast and the strongest since March when 353,000 jobs were created, the Labor Department said.

Still, the unemployment rate edged up to 5.5 percent from 5.4 percent in September, but that was because more people joined the search for employment, a potentially hopeful sign. Not only was October a strong month but the number of jobs created in the two prior months was revised up — to 139,000 in September instead of 96,000 and to 198,000 in August instead of 128,000.

But for 100,000-odd votes in Ohio, Bush could have suffered the ironic fate of his father: Losing an election on the basis of misperception of a weak economy during an actual boom. The signs are good for a huge economic expansion in the second term.

And, no, I’m not changing my tune on this: President Bush is affecting this only at the margins. But he sure got blamed for a bad economy that was largely out of his control; he might as well enjoy unjust praise for a good economy.

FILED UNDER: 2004 Election, Economics and Business, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.