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Romney: Jobless rate shows economy at "virtual standstill"

WASHINGTON, Nov 2 (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.