What the jobs report means for Kansas City

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - More companies are hiring, but unemployment in the U.S. grew slightly in October. That's the findings of the latest jobs report released Friday morning.

In the Kansas City area, Scott Anglemyer, Executive Director of Workforce Partnership, says his office is seeing promising signs that the job outlook is getting better.

His office helps thousands of Kansas Citians to obtain the skills they need to land a career. However, he adds it could be several years before Kansas and Missouri bounce back to post recession levels.

Anglemyer says if the economy added 250,000 jobs a month, that would be the sign of a booming recovery. Friday's report indicated only 171,000 new jobs added in October. The unemployment rate ticked up just a bit from 7.8 percent to 7.9 percent.

Local economists say that fluctuation could be because more people are entering or re-entering the job market.

Anglemyer says the jobs report is significant because it's the last piece of economic data to come out before Tuesday's election. Already, President Barack Obama and Senator Mitt Romney are using the report as a speaking point for their campaigns.

The October numbers allow President Obama to argue the economy is technically growing under his watch. Yet, they also allow Romney to argue that the new jobs are not making much of a dent in the unemployment problem. Both campaigns quickly set to work putting their spin on data.

"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill," Romney said in a statement. "The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work. ... When I'm president, I'm going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last."

Obama, speaking in Hilliard, Ohio, pointed to the report as another sign the economy is moving in the right direction, despite the challenges remaining.

"We've made real progress, but we are here today because we know we've got more work to do," Obama said. "As long as there's a single American who wants a job and can't find one, as long as there are families working harder but falling behind our fight goes on."

Anglemyer explained while both sides work to use the jobs report in their favor, "the spin both political parties will put on this job report is going to be incredible. Everybody is going to find something in this to point at. The question is how will the voters react?"

Undecided voters play a crucial role in the election, and several local economists believe this jobs report is the number one factor in influencing who they'll pick for president.

"Research shows that it's voters perception of how the economy is going that is the best predictor of how they're going to vote," Anglemyer said.

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