US unemployment rate surges to 10.2 percent; 190,000 jobs lost in October

November 6, 2009

This is an extraordinarily bad number, and makes this week a 1-2 punch for Democrats. A 10.2 percent jobless rate is the highest since April 1983, even though the labor force participation rate actually dipped a bit. The broader U6 measured surged to 17.5 percent. Recall that 7 quarters of average GDP growth of roughly 7 percent in the 1980s only brought down the unemployment rate by 2 1/2 percentage points. As the Labor Department sums things up:

The unemployment rate rose from 9.8 to 10.2 percent in October, and nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline (-190,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The largest job losses over the month were in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade.

In October, the number of unemployed persons increased by 558,000 to 15.7 million. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4 percentage point to 10.2 percent, the highest rate since April 1983. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has risen by 8.2 million, and the unemployment rate has grown by 5.3 percentage points.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed over the month at 5.6 million. In October, 35.6 percent of unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more.

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 190,000 in October. In the most recent 3 months, job losses have averaged 188,000 per month, compared with losses averaging 357,000 during the prior 3 months. In contrast, losses averaged 645,000 per month from November 2008 to April 2009. Since December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 7.3 million.

Construction employment decreased by 62,000 in October. Manufacturing continued to shed jobs (-61,000) in October, with losses in both durable and nondurable goods production. Retail trade lost 40,000 jobs in October.

Health care employment continued to increase in October (29,000). Since the start of the recession, health care has added 597,000 jobs.

Temporary help services has added 44,000 jobs since July, including 34,000 in October.

The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.0 hours in October.

In October, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $18.72. Over the past12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.4 percent, while average weekly earnings have risen by only 0.9 percent due to declines in the average workweek.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from -201,000 to -154,000, and the change for September was revised from -263,000 to -219,000.


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Imagine how bad it would be if Obama hadn’t announced the recession being over. The unemployment office has more people working there than ever. Good job B.O.!

Posted by John | Report as abusive

One of the most alarming aspects of the report in my eyes is that the greatest job losses for the month were in construction, manufacturing, and retail sales. These industries are really the corner stones of our economy. When those industries are going good, the economy is going good. When their going bad, well you can see how things are.

For people that are currently unemployed and looking for work all we can tell them to do is have patience. All we can do is urge people to keep at it and stay out there sending out resumes. I think they are doing that. Remember that the unemployment rate only counts people that are actively searching for work. There are people out there that have become so dissatisfied with the situation that they have simply given up.

Recovery is indeed happening, but its at a slow pace and that’s what is so frustrating for a lot of people. Unfortunately there are no easy fixes for the situation. Sure we can throw more band aid stimulus packages out there, but any effect from those is going to be short term. The only thing that can really fix this economy is time.

Check out my blog and insight on the latest unemployment numbers at…. employment-rate-hits-26-year-high/

We’re in serious trouble. The economy is awash with hot money that Washington has injected into the economy (a significant portion of which has been monetized by the Fed) and we still can’t create jobs!

Hopefully the election results are a “green shoot” for the return of sanity.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

The financial markets read the report postively. Either we are going to have a massive correction in the equity markets based on the failure of households to sustain consumption (inspite of massive gov’t incentives con’t) or the unemployment reports are amiss.
So much for the efficient market hypothesis. Perhaps if we just cut all the regulation and reduce the capital gains tax rate to 1% and personnal tax rates we can have another miraculous rally that lifts all boats.

Posted by csodak | Report as abusive

I love what this startup is doing to help people looking for a career change…. Share and discover what people think about their workplace. Anonymously.

Posted by Daniel Escobar | Report as abusive

The job market is definitely a scary place right now. Many job seekers are trying to differentiate themselves from the stiff competition and doing so in creative ways, including printing their resumes on t-shirts and offering vacations to people who can help find them a job. Are outside-the-box ideas like these the wave of the future or a gamble in an already-difficult job market?

[...] edge into positive territory on Friday. The market fell at the open after a weaker-than-expected October jobs report . Employers cut 190,000 jobs from their payrolls last month. The unemployment rate, generated by a [...]

[...] edge into positive territory on Friday. The market fell at the open after a weaker-than-expected October jobs report. Employers cut 190,000 jobs from their payrolls last month. The unemployment rate, generated by a [...]