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Unemployment rate rises to 7.3%

By By Annalyn Kurtz
Published On: Dec 24 2013 02:24:20 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 08 2013 07:54:56 AM CST
Job fair line

Andrew Burton/Reuters

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -

What shutdown? Job growth unexpectedly surged in October, even as the federal government closed its doors for 16 days.

The U.S. economy added 204,000 jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That was well above economists' expectations. There was more good news about hiring during the late summer. Revisions showed an extra 60,000 jobs were created in August and September.

Economists were expecting weak job growth, due to uncertainties created by the budget battles in Washington. But the Labor Department noted "there were no discernible impacts of the partial federal government shutdown on the estimates."

The jobs report also showed the unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.3 percent, up from 7.2 percent in September, but economists expect this to be a passing blip. Furloughed federal workers may have been counted as being on temporary layoff, and the next jobs report, due on Dec. 6, will probably show these people were back at work in November.

Still the picture isn't completely rosy. About 11.3 million Americans remained unemployed in October -- 4 million of whom have been out of work for at least six months.