Hiring slowed in October as employers faced more uncertainty over future economic growth.
The Labor Department says the economy added 80,000 jobs last month, the fewest in four months and below September's revised total of 158,000. The unemployment rate dipped to 9 percent.
Businesses added 104,000 jobs, below September's total. Government shed 24,000 jobs.
The report included some positive signs. The government revised August and September's figures upward by 102,000. Average hourly earnings rose. And the unemployment rate fell for the first time since July, because a separate survey of households showed more people found work.
The report suggests that President Barack Obama will likely face the voters with the highest unemployment rate of any postwar president.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press