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US jobs market thrives despite government shutdown

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US jobs market thrives despite government shutdown
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There were strong jobs numbers from the US for October, with an unexpected acceleration in hiring despite the partial government shutdown.

That suggests the world largest economy is on a firmer footing and raises the prospect the Federal Reserve may soon decide to cut back its stimulus programme.

Employers added 204,000 new workers last month, and 60,000 more jobs were created in September and August than previously reported.

The jobless rate did rise to 7.3 percent of the workforce last month from September’s nearly five-year low of 7.2 percent as federal workers who were sent home during the budget dispute were counted in that figure, even though they remained on government payrolls.

The Labor Department said there had been no “discernible” impact on the payroll figures from the 16-day government shutdown.

“This was a resoundingly strong report, particularly in the context of the government shutdown which was supposed to wreak havoc on this number,” said Tom Porcelli, chief US economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.

October’s job gains pushed them above the 190,000 monthly average for the past 12 months, a sign of labour market strength.

However, the better-than expected numbers are unlikely to change expectations of slower economic growth in the final three months of the year, given that business inventories rose and consumer spending slackened between July and September.