Analysts polled by Reuters had expected payrolls to drop by 175,000 and the jobless rate to edge up to 9.9 percent from 9.8 percent in September.
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The labor market is being watched for signs whether the economic recovery that started in the third quarter can be sustained without government support. The economy grew at a 3.5 percent annualized rate in the July-September period, probably ending the most painful U.S. recession in 70 years.