Merrill Expects Below Average October Job Gains

By John S. McClenahen October's employment data from the U.S. Labor Department won't be released until Nov. 5, three days after this year's presidential and congressional elections. But if Merrill Lynch & Co. is correct, they'll again show nonfarm jobs being added below the 150,000-rate needed just to keep up with population growth. "In all, we expect nonfarm payrolls to rise by 145,000 in October, continuing the string of sub-par monthly payroll increases seen since June," says Sheryl King, a senior economist at Merrill. "Caution on the part of firms will be the watchword again this month, as employers continue to worry over to what extent high energy prices will slow economic demand."

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