The U.S. economy added just 204,000 jobs in October, which was much stronger than the 120,000 expected. The September number was revised up to 163,000 from an earlier estimate of 148,000.

The labour force participation rate dropped to 62.8% from 63.2% a month ago, but the unemployment rate climbed to 7.3% from 7.2%.

Despite the improvements in the numbers, the U.S. labour market remains anemic.

Calculated Risk runs a chart every month that puts the current jobs recovery into perspective.

“This graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms, compared to previous post WWII recessions,” writes Bill McBride of Calculated Risk. “The dotted line is ex-Census hiring. This shows the depth of the recent employment recession – worse than any other post-war recession – and the relatively slow recovery due to the lingering effects of the housing bust and financial crisis.”

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