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Retail hiring flat

Payrolls grew more than expected in October, with retail hiring among the primary drivers of employment growth.

However, a new report suggests seasonal hiring was largely unchanged compared to a year ago.

Global employment firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. said that while several national retail chains have announced plans to hire more seasonal workers than they took on in 2011, retail hiring in October was just slightly better than last year and was significantly behind the pace set in October 2010.

According to the Chicago-based firm, the 130,100-job uptick in the retail sector just barely topped the 128,900-job increase experienced within the retail sector in October 2011. In comparison, retailers created 149,800 jobs in October 2010, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Overall, private employers added 184,000 jobs in October, the most since February, while the unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.9 percent according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

BLS reported retail hires were the highest for any one month since April 2011.

The number of people employed part time for economic reasons fell by 269,000 to 8.3 million, which partially offsets an increase of 582,000 such workers in September, according to the BLS.

Average hourly earnings climbed by 1.6 percent in October compared to a year ago.

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