The US unemployment rate ticked down slightly to 9.0 percent last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, adding that a modest 80,000 jobs were created.
Breaking three months of unemployment stuck at 9.1 percent, the October rate was modestly better than economists expected, but will provide little succor to President Barack Obama as he races to create jobs before 2012 elections.
Job creation was slightly worse than economists expected, although there were heavy upward revisions for previous months.
Over the past 12 months, an average of 125,000 nonfarm jobs were created each month, the Labor Department said, much less than needed to substantially bring down the unemployment rate.
“To actually improve the unemployment rate, we need to be significantly above where we are today on job creation,” said Matt McDonald of Hamilton Place Strategies.
“To get below eight percent unemployment by election day, the economy needs to create 263,000 jobs per month.”
The jobs report, while positive, is likely to confirm suspicions that the US economy is struggling to avoid stall speed.
It will also do little to alter the political landscape.
“The latest jobs report shows another month of unacceptably high unemployment,” said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, as he urged Obama to work with his party.
The October data also will provide little comfort to the 14 million Americans who are looking for a job.
Over 40 percent of those out of work have been looking for work for more than 27 weeks — or nearly seven months.
The Labor Department did report some bright spots, however.
There was modest job growth in professional and businesses services, leisure and hospitality, health care, and mining.
Government employment continued to trend down as state and local authorities trim post to tackle swollen budgets.
The Labor Department upwardly revised net nonfarm jobs figures for August, to 104,000 from the prior estimate of 57,000, and for September, to 158,000 from 103,000.