(The economy added 151,000 private sector jobs last month. Chart: Steve Benen) Just when voters have given the heave to the Democratic majority in the House, the government reports that the lousy economy got better last month. The latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the economy added 151,000 nonfarm jobs in October – not nearly enough to make up for the 8 million lost during the recession, and yet so much better than we saw in the darkest days of the recession. Not that it’s all roses. The unemployment rate stayed stuck at 9.6 percent, which tells you something about how far we’ve fallen. That number will be very, very tough to move. The so-called shadow unemployment rate, measuring everyone wants a job even if they’ve given up looking, fell a nib to 17 percent – still a teeth-rattling number. The average job search is now taking nearly 40 weeks. Some 4.5 million Americans have now been out of work a year or more. When Republicans coming to power say that getting rid of President Obama is their top priority, the average American’s economic prospects are what’s pushed down on the agenda. And when voters tell exit pollsters that they want Congress to spend money on creating jobs, numbers like today’s are what they’re talking about.