President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney each got something Friday out of the final snapshot of the nation’s economy heading into Election Day, with more job creation and an uptick in unemployment.
That data fresh in hand, both candidates were plunging into a hectic pace of campaigning, with Obama eager to fend off Romney in the key battleground of Ohio even as Romney pushed to expand the contest to other states, most notably Pennsylvania, to secure the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
The Labor Department’s last look at hiring before the election showed U.S. employers added 171,000 jobs in October and that hiring was stronger over the previous two months than first thought. The unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September because the workforce grew.
As a political marker, it gives Romney a data point to attack. Obama will face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt.