Obama Romney
Voters go to the polls on 6 November to decide if they want Barack Obama or Mitt Romney as their president for the next four years (Reuters)

Official data from the US economy shows that in October 171,000 jobs were added to payrolls, giving President Barack Obama a helping hand in his campaign to win re-election as American voters prepare to cast their ballots on 6 November.

Polls show that he is neck-and-neck with Republican hopeful Mitt Romney, but the jobs data - that last piece of significant economic data to be revealed ahead of the vote - may put him a nose ahead.

Since the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released the figures, people have queued up to offer their reactions.

Here is a selection.

Marcus Bullus, trading director at MB Capital

"Like much of the eastern seaboard, the president's election prospects are battered - but have the wind firmly in their sails once again.

"Two straight months of strong employment numbers suggest that the US economy is coming good at just the right time for Obama.

"The polls are too close to call, but the latest employment numbers may just save one more job - the president's."

James Glassman, senior economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York

"This is a nice report.

"We deserve and will get better as more cylinders begin firing in the economy. The important story this year has been finally getting the excesses in the housing industry behind us, which has been a big drag on the economy.

"You're going to start seeing much more support from the housing industry."

Via Bloomberg

Brian Jones, SocGen

"The increase in construction payrolls was the strongest since January. This segment is poised to move higher over the coming months as reconstruction efforts from Hurricane Sandy pick up in earnest."

Daniel Solomon, economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research

"The fly in the ointment is long-term unemployment. The proportion of workless people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more has held steady at approximately 40 percent since the financial crisis.

"This is symptomatic of underlying weakness in the US labour market, which is still to recover fully from the late 2000s crash.

"The Budget Control Act is due to come into effect at the end of 2012. Unless planned policy is altered, taxes will rise and Government spending will fall as the US works to rein in its budget deficit and growth in the overall stock of public debt.

"This 'fiscal cliff', if it actually occurs, would suppress labour market activity, particularly in the public sector."

Maury Harris, chief economist at UBS Securities

"Private jobs are expanding despite all this expression of business caution.

"You continue to see improvements in people's perceptions of what's happening in the job market."

Via Bloomberg

Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate

"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill.

"The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work."

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics

"Businesses are adding consistently to their payrolls. October's job gains were in line with the average monthly gains of the past two years, with sturdy albeit less-than-stellar growth across most industries and company sizes.

"Businesses have turned more cautious in recent months, but that has yet to impact their hiring and firing decisions."

Via FT

Statement from the White House

"While more work remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the US economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression.

"It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007."