The U.S. Department of Labor will issue its monthly employment report for October, the last to be published before the presidential election, as scheduled on Nov. 2, a spokesman said today.
The report “will be released as scheduled on Friday,” the spokesman, Gary Steinberg, said from Washington.
The statement clears up uncertainty surrounding the publication of the report after Hurricane Sandy closed government offices for two days this week. Yesterday, another spokesman, Carl Fillichio, said the employees at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are “working hard to ensure the timely release of employment data.”
The jobs report may help sway voters trying to decide between giving President Barack Obama another four years in office or to change course with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The Obama administration has pointed to 24 straight months of job growth as evidence the economy is improving, while the Romney campaign has said progress is too slow.
Payrolls probably rose by 125,000 workers in October, and the jobless rate increased to 7.9 percent from a three-year low of 7.8 percent reached in September, according to the median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.
Jack Welch, the former chief executive officer of General Electric Co., suggested the Obama administration had manipulated the jobs data for political advantage after the September unemployment rate unexpectedly dropped to the lowest level since the president took office in January 2009. Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, called Welch’s comments “irresponsible.”
Prior to September, joblessness had exceeded 8 percent for 43 straight months, the longest such stretch since at least 1948.
Ronald Reagan is the only president to have been re-elected since World War II with unemployment above 6 percent. On Election Day 1984, the rate was at 7.2 percent, having dropped almost three percentage points in the previous 18 months.