Unemployment Fell in Late October on Holiday Hires, Stimulus Expectations, Gallup Poll Says

U.S. unemployment fell during the last half of October, indicating that the Federal Government-measured unemployment rate over the next month may drop to its lowest levels in more than a year, Gallup reported Friday, citing its survey of more than 18,000 people.

About 9.4% of U.S. workers were unemployed at the end of October, down from about 10% a month earlier but about about even with the end of August, according to Gallup. Unemployment among men dropped about one percentage point, while female unemployment was little changed.

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The late-October drop in unemployment may be the result of retailers bumping up hiring in advance of the holiday season, which may be the most active since the most recent recession began in late 2007. Additionally, private companies may be hiring more people now that the Federal Government plans to inject about $600 billion into the economy, Gallup says.

Earlier today, the U.S. Labor Department reported that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October, marking the first increase in five months. The Labor Department also revised the total job losses for September and August. September's job losses were chopped to 41,000 jobs from the initial estimate of 95,000, while August's loss was negligible, down from the previous 57,000 jobs lost.

Still, because of population increases and more people looking for work, the unemployment rate remained at 9.6%. Unemployment has been at least 9.5% for 14 months, the longest such stretch since the 1930s, according to Labor Department statistics.