Government shutdowns have consequences, particularly in the area of job growth. In October, the African-American unemployment rate rose to 13.1 percent, compared to 12.9 percent for September, according to figures released by the U.S. Labor Department. The national unemployment rate also ticked up slightly, from 7.2 percent to 7.3 percent.
The news was not all bad, however. The economy added 204,000 jobs, a figure much higher than expected because of the shutdown.
According to a report by Reuters, economists had estimated that the 16-day federal shutdown cost approximately 50,000 jobs last month. ADP, in its monthly report on jobs trends, predicted that just 130,000 jobs were added to the economy, "well below the average of the last twelve months."
According to the Labor Department, the biggest gains were in the leisure and hospitality and professional and business sectors.
"There should be no debate that the shutdown and debt limit brinksmanship inflicted unnecessary damage on the economy in October," said Jason Furman, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. "The employment report shows differing accounts, with the more reliable payroll survey recording strong job growth and the much noisier household survey showing an increase in the unemployment rate and a large drop in employment. But the mission for Congress remains clear: to take steps that increase certainty, speed growth, and boost job creation."
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in response to the jobs report cited the Affordable Care Act, which was at the center of the government shutdown, as the reason for higher unemployment.
"Under Obamacare, if you like your job, you may not be able to keep it. Independent analysis has documented over 350 employers across the country, including more than 100 school districts, where employee hours have been cut as a result of Obamacare," he said in a statement. "Other businesses are reporting that they are not growing to avoid Obamacare penalties. It is bad enough that the president’s policies have caused millions to lose their health insurance, we shouldn’t let it also rob them of their paycheck."
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(Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)