The job market got off to a strong start in 2012. Employers added an average 226,000 jobs the first three months of the year.
Hiring in January, February and March was probably even stronger than that: The Labor Department has said 386,000 more jobs were created in the year that ended in March, but it has not assigned the jobs to specific months yet.
Job growth slowed sharply to an average 67,000 a month from April through June. And the weakness appeared to have continued into the summer, raising fears that a slow and steady economic recovery was losing momentum.
But the revisions to the July and August figures on Friday eased those fears somehwat. Monthly job growth was back up to an average 146,000 from July through September.
Naroff, the economist, predicted that unemployment would inch back up, and that job growth would settle at about 150,000 per month for the next several months. Economists at PNC Financial Services Group predict job growth will accelerate to 170,000 per month in 2013.
The economy is still far from full health. The number of U.S. jobs peaked in January 2008, a month after the Great Recession officially started, at 138 million. The job market shed 8.8 million jobs by February 2010. Since then, the economy has regained 4.6 million, or a little more than half, of those lost jobs.
No incumbent president since Gerald Ford in 1976 has faced re-election when the unemployment rate was as high as September's 7.8 percent, even after the sharp drop from August. Ford lost to Jimmy Carter.
Ronald Reagan faced 7.2 percent unemployment in 1984 and trounced Walter Mondale to win a second term.
AP Economics Writer Michael Sandler contributed to this report.
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