by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Oct 29, 2012
The US Labor Department said Tuesday it expects to release its most recent unemployment data -- a key marker of the economy ahead of the November 6 election -- on schedule despite Hurricane Sandy.
"The employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are working hard to ensure the timely release of employment data on Friday, November 2," spokesman Carl Fillichio told AFP.
"It is our intention that Friday will be business as usual regarding the October Employment Situation Report."
Questions have been raised over whether the data can be completed because government offices in Washington were completely shut down Monday ahead of the landfall of Hurricane Sandy, and could remain shut Tuesday.
The update on the unemployment rate and the number of jobs created in October is hotly awaited as the last major data release before voters decide between incumbent Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney for the US presidency.
The high level of joblessness and the feeble growth of the economy remains the biggest challenge to Obama being reelected, with Romney assailing him on not having restored growth after the deep 2008-2009 recession.
In the report on September, 12.1 million people remained officially unemployed. The jobless rate slipped to 7.8 percent but only 114,000 new jobs were generated, barely enough to keep up with the natural growth of the working-age population.
Analysts say that the rate could tick up to 7.9 percent on Friday.
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