Unemployment hits 10.2 percent in October

SHARE Unemployment hits 10.2 percent in October

Below, from the Department of Labor….

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 con-

struction, manufacturing, and retail trade.

Household Survey Data

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. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.7 per-

cent) and whites (9.5 percent) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult

women (8.1 percent), teenagers (27.6 percent), blacks (15.7 percent), and

Hispanics (13.1 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment

rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1,

A-2, and A-3.)

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. (See table A-9.)

The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed over the month

at 65.1 percent. The employment-population ratio continued to decline in

October, falling to 58.5 percent. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons working part time for economic reasons (sometimes refer-

red to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in October at 9.3

million. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been

cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-5.)

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 sea-

sonally 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 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-13.)

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.) Dis-

couraged 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 4 weeks preceding

the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Establishment Survey Data

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 190,000 in October. In the most re-

cent 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. (See table B-1.)

Construction employment decreased by 62,000 in October. Monthly job losses have

averaged 67,000 during the most recent 6 months, compared with an average decline

of 117,000 during the prior 6 months. October job losses were concentrated in

nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-30,000) and in heavy construction

(-14,000). Since December 2007, employment in construction has fallen by 1.6 mil-


Manufacturing continued to shed jobs (-61,000) in October, with losses in both

durable and nondurable goods production. Over the past 4 months, job losses in

manufacturing have averaged 51,000 per month, compared with an average monthly

loss of 161,000 from October 2008 through June 2009. Manufacturing employment has

fallen by 2.1 million since December 2007.

Retail trade lost 40,000 jobs in October. Employment declines were concentrated

in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (-16,000) and in department

stores (-11,000). Employment in transportation and warehousing decreased by 18,000

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. From January 2008 through July 2009, temporary help services had lost

an average of 44,000 jobs per month.

The average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm

payrolls was unchanged at 33.0 hours in October. The manufacturing workweek rose

by 0.1 hour to 40.0 hours, and factory overtime increased by 0.2 hour over the

month. (See table B-2.)

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 past

12 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.

(See table B-3.)

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.


The Employment Situation for November is scheduled to be released on Friday,

December 4, 2009, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).

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