Friday's jobs report showed stronger-than-expected payroll growth of 171,000 in October, as well as upward revisions for the prior two months. Separately, the household survey showed an increase of 410,000, making September's big surge look less like an anomaly, much less a conspiracy.
Combined with the recent increase in consumer confidence and recovery in the housing market, the jobs report could give President Obama a modest boost heading into Tuesday's election.
Still, "there are a few dark clouds in this picture," says Vincent Reinhart, chief U.S. economist at Morgan Stanley.
First, the unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9% and the year-to-date monthly average of 157,000 payroll jobs is barely enough to keep up with population growth -- much less make up for the 8 million jobs lost during the Great Recession.
Second, the so-called real unemployment rate (U6) remains elevated at 14.6%, albeit down from 14.7% the priorRead More »from Job Growth Brightens But “There Are a Few Dark Clouds in This Picture”: Reinhart