WASHINGTON - A jump in U.S. unemployment to 10.2 percent last month reflects the typical lag shown by the labor market as growth picks up, a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama said on Friday.
Today's employment report contained both signs of hope for recovery and painful evidence of continued labor market weakness, Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, said in a statement after the release of October employment data.
The U.S. jobless rate hit a 26 1/2-year high of 10.2 percent last month as U.S. employers cut 190,000 jobs, posting a somewhat weaker performance than predicted by economists polled by Reuters before the data's release.
There is a widespread anticipation that the labor market will take a while to recover, despite a return to growth in the third quarter that ended the worst U.S. economic slump in 70 years, and Romer said that the dislocation between economic activity and the labor market was usual in an upturn.
That this (jobless increase to 10.2 percent) occurred despite the rise in real GDP last quarter reflects both the typical lag between GDP growth and unemployment decline, and the recent exceptional increases in productivity, Romer said.
(Reporting by Alister Bull; Editing by Doina Chiacu)