The national unemployment dropped from 10.2% in October to and even 10% in November as nonfarm payroll employment lost only 11,000 jobs, a significant improvement from the average 135,000 jobs shed by the economy in the prior three months, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Still, three key categories--construction, manufacturing and information--continued losing jobs as temporary and health care positions increased.

The Labor Department put the number of unemployed in November at 15.4 million, based on its household survey. In December 2007, the number of unemployed was 7.5 million, and the jobless rate was 4.9 percent.

The estimates for both September and October were upwardly revised, with total nonfarm payroll employment for September cut from -219,000 to -139,000 and October from -190,000 to -111,000.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose by 293,000 to 5.9 million, and the percentage of unemployed persons jobless for 27 weeks or more increased by 2.7 percentage points to 38.3%.The number of people working part time for economic reasons was unchanged at9.2 million, and the number of both those marginally attached to the labor force (2.3 million) and discouraged workers (861,000) remained elevated compared to November, 2008.

The improvement in the unemployment rate was concentrated in the lower demographics, with the rate among those lacking a high-school education falling from 15.5% to 15% and that for high-school graduates falling from 11.2% to 10.4%. The rate for those with some college held steady at 9% and that for college graduates increased from 4.7% to 4.9%.

Construction employment declined by 27,000 over the month, with a loss of only about 500 jobs in the month. Job losses in the overall category had averaged 117,000 per month during the 6 months ending in April and 63,000 per month from May through October. In November, construction job losses were concentrated among nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-29,000).

The unemployment rate in construction was up to 19.4% from 12.7% in November 2008.

The manufacturing sector lost 41,000 jobs in November, in line with the average loss of 46,000 posted over the past five months. Some 2.1 million manufacturing jobs have been lost since December 2007, with more than half coming in durable goods. Employment in the information industry fell by 17,000 in November. About half of the job loss occurred in its telecommunications component (-9,000).

Professional and business services rose by 86,000 in November, driven by an increase of 52,000 jobs in the temporary help services category. Health care continued growing, up 21,000. The health care industry has added 613,000 jobs since the recession began in December 2007.