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US Economy Added 171,000 Jobs in October

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In the final monthly jobs report before Election Day, the government on Friday said the U.S. unemployment rate for October ticked up to 7.9 percent.

The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the U.S. economy added 171,000 jobs, stating that the number of unemployed Americans was essentially unchanged in October at 12.3 million.

"We still have a long way to go but this is a step in the right direction," said Stephen Bronars, chief economist of Welch Consulting.

Analysts had expected around 125,000 added jobs, according to Bloomberg News.

Bronars said October's jobs report was positive despite the unemployment rate increase, because more people resumed looking for work.  He called the 171,000 jobs added "solid" and noted there were upward revisions to the reports of the past two months.

There were also increases in the employment-to-population ratio, at 58.8 percent, and the labor force participation rate, 63.8 percent, after both of the rates had stalled in the summer, Bronars said.

The unemployment rate for September was 7.8 percent.  In Friday's report, the BLS revised September's non-farm payroll employment to 148,000 jobs added from the previously-announced 114,000.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio