Yahoo! News: “U.S. businesses added 96,000 jobs to payrolls in September, the government reported on Friday, a weaker-than-expected total that was expected to sharpen a presidential debate later in the day over the economy’s direction.
The Labor Department report, showing the unemployment rate in September held steady at 5.4 percent, will provide fodder for the second debate between President Bush and Democratic Presidential contender Sen. John Kerry, the first one in which the candidates are expected to discuss economic policy.
The September job-creation total came in below Wall Street economists’ forecasts for 148,000 new jobs. Four hurricanes swept through the Southeast during August and September, which Labor said likely held down employment growth ‘but not enough to change materially’ its estimate of September jobs. “
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