The Bureau of Labor Statistics latest report should bode well for President Obama with the US unemployment rate for October remaining virtually unchanged at 7.9 percent, with the economy adding 171,000 jobs. Bad news for the black community, which saw unemployment ticking up to 14.3 percent. The jobless rate for whites came in at seven percent for October and 10 percent for Hispanics. Asians continue to have the lowest unemployment rate at 4.9 percent.

US Job Growth October 2012
US Unemployment Rate Virtually Unchanged at 7.9%, 171K Jobs Added Exceeding Expectations (Chart credit: Maddow Blog)

This is good news for President Obama, who can make the case that we have had 32 straight months of improvement on the jobs front. Here are where the jobs were created in October:

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 171,000 in October. Employment growth has averaged 157,000 per month thus far in 2012, about the same as the average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011. In October, employment rose in professional and business services, health care, and retail trade. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 51,000 jobs in October, with gains in services to buildings and dwellings (+13,000) and in computer systems design (+7,000). Temporary help employment changed little in October and has shown little net change over the past 3 months. Employment in professional and business services has grown by 1.6 million since its most recent low point in September 2009.

Health care added 31,000 jobs in October. Job gains continued in ambulatory health care services (+25,000) and hospitals (+6,000). Over the past year, employment in health care has risen by 296,000.

Retail trade added 36,000 jobs in October, with gains in motor vehicles and parts dealers (+7,000), and in furniture and home furnishings stores (+4,000). Retail trade has added 82,000 jobs over the past 3 months, with most of the gain occurring in motor vehicles and parts dealers, clothing and accessories stores, and miscellaneous store retailers.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up (+28,000) over the month. This industry has added 811,000 jobs since a recent low point in January 2010, with most of the gain occurring in food services. Employment in construction edged up in October. The gain was concentrated in specialty trade contractors (+17,000).

Manufacturing employment changed little in October. On net, manufacturing employment has shown little change since April.

Mitt Romney’s response that the economy is at a “virtual standstill” is wrong. If anyone is at a standstill it’s his campaign. He still won’t say with certainty how he would create those 12 million jobs he’s promising. Here’s his statement on the 171,000 jobs created in October:

Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill. The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work. On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity. For four years, President Obama’s policies have crushed America’s middle class. For four years, President Obama has told us that things are getting better and that we’re making progress. For too many American families, those words ring hollow. We can do better. We can have real economic growth, create millions of good-paying jobs, and give middle-class families the security and opportunity they deserve. When I’m president, I’m going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last.