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US economy gains 103,000 jobs


The US Labour Department also revised upwards jobs gains in August and July easing recessionary fears

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The US economy added an unexpectedd 103,000 jobs in September as jobs gains in previous months were also revised upwards, a government report showed on Friday.

The news could ease fears the economy was heading back into recession as the Labour Department announced upward revisions for August - which had shown zero jobs created - by 57,000, and July by an additional 42,000 jobs – a two month gain of nearly 100,000.

The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent as an increase in household employment offset a rise in the participation rate.

September's relative strength was partly attributed to the return of 45,000 Verizon Communications workers who had dropped off payrolls in August due to a strike. Excluding those workers, payrolls increased by 58,000.

The report also showed hourly earnings rebounded and the average work week rose.

Economists had expected non-farm employment to increase 60,000 last month and the jobless rate to hold steady at 9.1 percent.
The government's closely followed employment report was another sign that the world's largest economy was likely to skirt a recession despite weakness over the summer.

Private employment increased 137,000 last month, an acceleration from August's meagre 42,000 count. But government payrolls fell 34,000 as employment at the local government level fell 35,000 and the Postal Service shed 5,000 positions.

The nation's weak labour market has posed a critical challenge for President Barack Obama, who is gearing up for a tough re-election battle in November 2012. Obama used a news conference on Thursday to press for measures to spur jobs growth that face uncertain prospects in Congress.

Some economists are warning Europe's debt crisis threatens to all but derail the US recovery.

And while third-quarter growth is expected to top a 2 percent annualized pace, that is still too slow to make a dent in the high unemployment rate.

The economy needs to grow by at least a 2.5 percent rate, with payrolls expanding by 150,000 positions a month, to keep the jobless rate from rising.

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US economy gains 103,000 jobs
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