214K jobs added in October; unemployment rate falls to 5.8% - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

214K jobs added in October; unemployment rate falls to 5.8%

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(AP) Employers added a solid 214,000 jobs in October, extending the healthiest pace of hiring in eight years. The Labor Department also said 31,000 more jobs were added in August and September than it had previously estimated. Employers have now added at least 200,000 jobs for nine straight months, the longest such stretch since 1995.

The burst of hiring lowered the unemployment rate to 5.8 percent from 5.9 percent. It's lowest rate since July 2008.

Along with the job gains, economic growth has accelerated this year. Yet despite the improvement, voters identified economic anxiety as their top concern in Tuesday's elections. That suggests the improvement hasn't yet been felt by many Americans.

Nearly 60 percent of voters said they thought the economy was stagnating or worsening. Only one-third saw it as improving.

The picture has still improved enough that the Federal Reserve announced last month that it was ending its bond purchase program, which had been intended to lower interest rates and stimulate economic growth.

At the same time, better hiring and growth have barely boosted paychecks for the vast majority of earners. Adjusted for inflation, average hourly pay rose just 0.3 percent over the 12 months that ended in September, according to government data.

And what wage gains have occurred have benefited mainly the wealthiest. Average income grew 10 percent from 2010 through 2013 for the wealthiest one-tenth of Americans, after adjusting for inflation, according to the Fed. For everyone else, incomes stagnated or declined.

Analysts say the economic expansion remains strong enough to support the current pace of hiring. Over the past six months, the economy has grown at a 4.1 percent annual rate.

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