U.S. hiring on fire in October; jobless rate falls to 5 percent


WASHINGTON — U.S. hiring roared back in October after two disappointing months as employers added 271,000 jobs, the most since December. The unemployment rate fell to a fresh seven-year low of 5 percent.

Companies shrugged off slower overseas growth and a weak U.S manufacturing sector to add jobs across a range of industries. Big gains occurred in construction, health care and retail. Healthy consumer spending is supporting strong job gains even as factory payrolls were flat and oil and gas drillers cut jobs.

The gains are likely strong enough for the Federal Reserve to lift short-term interest rates at its next meeting in mid-December.

Robust hiring also pushed up wages 9 cents to $25.20. That is 2.5 percent higher than 12 months ago, the largest annual gain since July 2009.

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