With the first presidential debate now behind us, what's the next big item on the campaign calendar?
It's Friday's 8:30 a.m. ET release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics about the September unemployment rate and how many jobs were added to payrolls last month.
Here's what we'll likely hear, according to economists surveyed by Reuters and Bloomberg News:
-- That there was an uptick in the jobless rate, from 8.1 percent in August to 8.2 percent.
-- That there was a net increase of about 115,000 jobs on private and public payrolls. That's weak growth, but slightly better than the preliminary estimate of a 96,000-gain in August.
If those forecasts turn out to be correct, that means Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his supporters will again talk about how the jobless rate has remained above 8 percent throughout President Obama's time in office. It also means that Obama and his supporters will focus on how there's at least been slow, steady job growth for more than 2 1/2 years.
They'll have one more chance to debate employment figures before Election Day, by the way. The October jobs report is due on Nov. 2. Election Day is Nov. 6.
We'll be posting on Friday's news when it comes. Watch for related posts on Planet Money and It's All Politics.
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