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U.S. unemployment rate hits double-digits

The unemployment rate rose from 9.8 to 10.2 percent in October, and non-farm payroll employment continued to decline (-190,000), according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 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, and the unemployment rate of 10.2 percent was the highest rate since April 1983. Since the start of the recession in Dec. 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.

The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in October at 9.3 million.

About 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in October, reflecting an increase of 736,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 808,000 discouraged workers in October, up from 484,000 a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The other 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in October had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

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