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Romney: Jobless rate shows economy at "virtual standstill"

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Doswell, Virginia November 1, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Doswell, Virginia November 1, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney said on Friday the uptick in the U.S. employment rate to 7.9 percent shows the economy continues to struggle.

"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill," said Romney, who has made his record as a successful businessman the focus of his campaign, arguing that he is better equipped than President Barack Obama to fix the sputtering economy.

"The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work," Romney said in a statement.

The Labor Department announced on Friday that employers added 171,000 people to their payrolls last month. The jobless rate edged a tenth of a point higher from 7.8 percent, but that was due to a surge of people back to the workforce, seen as a hopeful sign for a lackluster economy.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Alistair Bell and Vicki Allen)

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