A flurry of data issued Thursday sketched a brightening view of the US economy in the final days before a presidential election that will pivot on the strength of the recovery. Cheaper gas, rising home prices, and lower unemployment have given consumers the confidence to spend more. And retailers, auto dealers, and manufacturers are benefiting. At the same time, many employers remain anxious, which is why only modest hiring gains are forecast for Friday’s jobs report for October. It will be the last major report on the economy before Election Day. Economists think the jobs report will show the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent in October, from 7.8 percent in September.
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