News roundup: Survey says U.S. added 162K jobs in September … American service firms see best growth in six months … In 90-minute debate, Obama and Romney stand on equal footing
Help wanted: The government will release its official September jobs report Friday. In the meantime, a private survey released today shows that U.S. businesses added fewer workers in September than August, a sign that slow growth may be holding back hiring. Payroll processor ADP says that companies added 162,000 jobs last month. That's below August's total of 189,000, which was revised lower. The September increase was better than economists had expected, and it marks the latest in a string of modest hiring gains reported by the survey in recent months. Still, the gain isn't enough to significantly push down the unemployment rate, which has been above 8% for three and a half years. Read the full story here.
33 and counting: U.S. service companies, which employ nearly 90% of the workforce, grew in September at the fastest pace since March, driven by more activity and an increase in new orders. The Institute for Supply Management says its index of non-manufacturing activity rose to 55.1, up from 53.7 in August. Any reading above 50 indicates expansion. The service sector has grown for 33 straight months, based on the ISM survey. The report measures growth in a broad range of businesses from retail and construction companies to health care and financial services firms.
Round one: President Barack Obama will have the first word at the presidential debate. GOP challenger Mitt Romney will have the last word. But even before they step onto the stage and shake hands in Denver tonight for their first debate, voters across the country are already starting to have the final word. With early voting under way in 35 states, a presidential race that has played out for most of the year in biting television commercials and fiery speeches suddenly narrows to a pair of candidates standing side-by-side. Starting at 8 p.m., for 90 minutes the rivals will be essentially equal, creating what Romney's advisers believe is a critical opportunity to make a move in the race. The New York Times has a complete debate preview here.
Today's poll question: Will you be tuning into the first presidential debate tonight between President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney?
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