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Marking the 73rd consecutive month of job growth, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 161,000 jobs were created during the month of October, bringing the unemployment rate down to 4.9%.

Average hourly earnings for employees on private (non-farm) payrolls also rose by 10 cents, to $25.92, after an 8 cent increase in September.

Thus far in 2016, employment growth has averaged 181,000 per month, with an average of 19,000 jobs created in health care and 13,000 in hospital services.

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The U.S. economy recently surged to its fastest pace of growth in two years, with America’s gross domestic product in July, August and September expanding at an annual rate of 2.9 percent.

Rounding out the positive economic picture, the number of people who lost jobs or completed temporary employment declined by 218,000 last month. There also was a decline in the number of people not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them—estimated at 487,000 in October, down by 178,000 from a year earlier.

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