Unemployment Hits 10.2%

( Updated with company names that cut jobs in October).

WASHINGTON ( TheStreet) -- The unemployment rate jumped to its highest level in 26 years in October, even as job losses continued to moderate.

The Labor Department said the U.S. economy lost 190,000 jobs last month, the 22nd straight month of declines. The consensus expectation was for a loss of 175,000 jobs.

In another sign the labor market has a long way to go in its recovery, the unemployment rate jumped to 10.2% from 9.8% in September. That's the highest unemployment rate since April 1983. Analysts had forecast an unemployment rate of 9.9%.

"Bottom line, it's not a good report. And the headlines will reflect that in the papers tomorrow," said Robert Pavlik, chief market strategist with Banyan Partners. "In the longer term, we've expected to go above 10%. But no one expected a jump to 10.2% from 9.8% in September. Now it starts to really hit home. It's going to have ramifications in areas like consumer spending."

The three-month average of job losses was one silver lining in an otherwise disappointing report. In October, September and August, job losses have averaged 188,000 per month, the Labor Department said, compared with losses averaging 357,000 during the prior three months. In contrast, losses averaged 645,000 per month from November 2008 to April 2009.

"The pace at which employees are being terminated is certainly declining, but that's like making lemonade out of sour lemons," said Pavlik. "But it's not going to last forever."

Since December 2007, when the recession took hold, employment has fallen by 7.3 million, the Labor Department said. Although job losses continued in many of the major industry sectors in October, the declines have moderated in recent months.

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