By Murray Feldman

SOUTHFIELD (WWJ/AP) – Better than expected news emerged today about jobs. The Labor Department says employers added 103,000 jobs last month, while the unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent.

WWJ and Fox 2 Business Editor Murray Feldman said the good news is due in part to a lot of small business hiring.

“We went through several months where there was no small business hiring, so some of them are hiring. Some of them are gearing up for the end of the year,” said Feldman. “We understand that there will be 500,000 seasonal jobs opening up from coast to coast with the major retailers between now and the end of the year.”

What about in Michigan? Feldman said there are some encouraging signs here.

“We hear that we’re adding job in construction because a lot of big construction jobs that are going on, not the normal home-building … commercial jobs in the health care field as well,” said Feldman.

Feldman added that new contracts  at Ford, GM and Chrysler should mean more stability in the auto industry, too.

“We should also see some of the manufacturing jobs coming back because auto sales are running about 10 percent higher than they were last years, so that means production is going to be ramping up,” he said.

Gail Haynes, the employment services program coordinator at the Michigan Works Career Center in Southfield, says that local unemployment numbers are up slightly. But she said it’s not all bleak.

“The good news is we’re seeing many more job postings come available, and they’re for good jobs … engineering jobs we haven’t seen in awhile,” said Haynes.

The U.S. Labor Department said Friday it has revised the previous two months to show that companies hired at a stronger pace than first estimated.

Employers added an average of only 72,000 jobs in the past five months. The economy must create about twice as many consistently just to keep up with population growth.

Nearly half of the gains last month were due to the rehiring of 45,000 striking Verizon employees.

The private sector added 137,000 jobs in September, up sharply from August, but below July’s revised total. Government shed 34,000 jobs. Local governments cut  teachers and other school employees.

More Americans are working part time but would prefer full-time work. When added  to those out of work who have given up looking, the so-called “underemployment”  rate rose to 16.5 percent from 16.2 percent.

– More on national employment numbers at this link –

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