Business

US new jobs figure beats expectations

A jobs sign is seen on the front of the US Chamber of Commerce building
Image caption The unemployment rate has been at the current level for three months

The US unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6% in October, but 151,000 jobs were created, the Labor Department has said.

The new jobs figure is much higher than analysts had expected amidst the sluggish recovery of the economy.

But the unemployment rate has now been at the current level for three months.

US President Barack Obama called the increase in jobs "encouraging news", adding that there was still much more to be done.

"I am open to any idea, any proposal, any way we can get the economy growing faster so that people who need work can find it faster," he said.

The US Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday it would pump $600bn (£373bn) into the US economy to boost the speed of recovery.

High unemployment was named as one of the reasons for the intervention.

The October unemployment rate itself was in line with Wall Street forecasts.

"We still have the unemployment rate steady so this isn't going to affect the Fed thinking too much at this point," said economist Sean Incremona at 4Cast Ltd in New York.

Private sector gains

The net gain of 151,000 jobs was the first increase since May.

US stock index futures surged on the announcement, while the dollar strengthened against the euro and yen.

There were 41,000 jobs shed in September, according to revised figures.

The private sector added 159,000 jobs in October, while the state cut 8,000 positions.

Since the beginning of the year, 874,000 new jobs were created in the US, after huge job losses in 2008 and 2009.

"This month's data is one of the rare months since the recession in which employment growth has been strong enough to keep pace with population growth," said Owen James, an economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

The Republican Party, which took control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday's congressional elections, was helped by voters' anger over high unemployment.

Nearly 15 million people are registered as unemployed and the lack of jobs was a key issue for many voters who punished President Obama's Democrats.

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