The nation's unemployment rate surged to 10.2% in October, up from 9.8% the month before, as nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 190,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported Friday. The biggest drops came in construction, manufacturing and retail.

The unemployment rate rose to a 26 year high as the number of jobless rose 558,000 to 15.7 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Survey data. Another 2.4 million workers were marginally attached to the labor force in October, reflecting an increase of 736,000 from a year earlier, and the number working part time for economic reasons was flat at9.3 million.

According to the BLS Establishment Survey data, construction employment decreased by 62,000 in October, with the losses concentrated in concentrated in nonresidential specialty trade contractors (-30,000) and heavy construction (-14,000). Job loss has slowed, however, with monthly totals averaging a decline of 67,000 during the most recent 6 months, down from an average drop of 117,000 during the prior 6months. Since December 2007, employment in construction has fallen by 1.6 million jobs.

Manufacturing shed 61,000 jobs in October, down from an average monthly loss for the first six months of the year of 161,000. Retail trade lost 40,000 jobs in October.

Health care employment continued to add jobs with 29,000 in October, bringing its increase since the recession began to 597,000.

The average workweek was unchaged at 33 hours and average hourly earnings of production and non-supervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 5 cents, or 0.3%, to $18.72.