Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump headed into a fierce final weekend of campaigning for the White House on Friday, with Clinton praising the latest US jobs report and Trump dismissing it as a fraudulent disaster.
Clinton narrowly leads Trump by five percentage points, according to a Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll released on Friday, maintaining her advantage in the national survey even as the race tightens in several crucial swing states.
With three days left until elections, both candidates headed to the American rust belt where blue-collar voters that were once reliable Democrats may be tempted by Trump’s protectionist promise to repatriate jobs from Mexico and China.
Clinton wrapped up her day of campaigning with a night-time concert in Cleveland. She was introduced with a show-stopping set by rapper Jay-Z and his even more famous wife Beyonce. They sang songs of emancipation and empowerment wearing a version of Clinton's trademark pantsuit.
"We have unfinished work to do, more barriers to break, and with your help, a glass ceiling to crack once and for all," Clinton said to loud cheers at the concert.
At his final rally of the day in Pennsylvania, Trump mocked Clinton for her celebrity supporters.
"We're gonna win Pennsylvania big," he said. "And by the way, I didn't have to bring J-Lo or Jay-Z. I'm here all by myself," he added.
Earlier in the day at a rally in Pittsburgh, Clinton cited the government's latest jobs report as evidence of the economy's strength. The report showed higher wages for workers as well as the creation of 161,000 jobs in October and a dip in the unemployment rate to 4.9 percent from 5 percent.
"I believe our economy is poised to really take off and thrive," Clinton told the gathering, after being introduced by billionaire investor Mark Cuban. "When the middle class thrives, America thrives."
Trump disputed Clinton's rosy view, telling a crowd in New Hampshire that the jobs report was "an absolute disaster" and was skewed by the large number of people who have stopped looking for jobs and are no longer in the labour market.
"Nobody believes the numbers anyway. The numbers they put out are phony," he said, referring to the figures released by the US Department of Labor.
The economy and the candidates' competing visions for the future could be critical in swaying voters in ailing Rust Belt states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Both candidates made stops in Ohio and Pennsylvania on Friday, with Trump adding a stop in New Hampshire and Clinton adding one in Michigan. Each of those states is key in the state-by-state quest for the 270 electoral votes needed to win the White House.
The two candidates are now tied in Florida and North Carolina, and Clinton's lead in Michigan has narrowed so much that the state is too close to call. Ohio remains a dead heat, and Clinton has a slight lead in Pennsylvania.
Both candidates continue to paint a dire scenario of life in the United States if their opponent captures the White House.
Trump said the FBI's fresh examination of emails that may be related to Clinton's use of a private email server for government work while she was secretary of state could lead to "a constitutional crisis."
"Aren't we tired of all this stuff?" he asked. "America deserves a government that can go to work on Day One."
Clinton suggested the volatile Trump, who has feuded with and insulted a wide array of people and groups including Muslims, Mexican immigrants and women, was too unpredictable to trust.
"Think about what it would mean to entrust the nuclear codes to someone with very thin skin who lashes out at anyone who insults him," she said.