The U.S. economy added 171,000 jobs in October, more than September's upwardly revised gain of 148,000. Yet the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent.

Why did the rate rise at the same time that hiring has picked up?

Because the government does one survey to learn how many jobs were created and another survey to determine the unemployment rate. Those surveys can produce results that sometimes conflict.

One is called the payroll survey. It asks mostly large companies and government agencies how many people they employed during the month. This survey produces the number of jobs gained or lost. In October, the payroll survey showed that companies added 184,000 jobs, and federal, state and local governments shed 13,000.

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