US Oct. jobs report likely to show modest hiring

WASHINGTON (AP) - The government employment report being released today is highly anticipated as the last one before the presidential election next week and could have an impact on the results.

Economists say they expect the report to solidify a picture of companies hiring steadily but cautiously.

Economists forecast that employers added 121,000 jobs in October, according to FactSet. That would be up slightly from September but below this year's average monthly gain of 146,000.

And analysts think the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent in September.

Any increase would mean that President Barack Obama would face voters with the highest unemployment rate of any incumbent since Franklin Roosevelt. That could provide ammunition for GOP challenger Mitt Romney.

The political effect of the report is unclear. Experts say that all but a few voters have likely made up their minds, particularly about the economy.

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