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overview: The U.S. economy added 638,000 jobs in October as payroll growth roughly held steady despite a surge in COVID-19 cases and Congress’s failure to provide more aid to unemployed Americans and struggling businesses.


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The unemployment rate fell from 7.9% to 6.9% even as the number of Americans working or looking for jobs -- which makes up the labor force -- rose sharply because many landed positions, the Labor Department said Friday.

Economists had estimated that 600,000 jobs were added last month, according to a Bloomberg survey.

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Paul Davidson

economics and jobs reporter for usa today