Photograph of job seekers at job fair in Newark, NJ last week by Mike Derer/AP

The Labor Department announced that jobless claims for October rose to 6.5%, with nonfarm payroll employment falling by 240,000. From the release:

October's drop in payroll employment followed declines of
127,000 in August and 284,000 in September, as revised. Employment has fallen by
1.2 million in the first 10 months of 2008; over half of the decrease has occurred
in the past 3 months. In October, job losses continued in manufacturing, construc-
tion, and several service-providing industries. Health care and mining continued
to add jobs.

The total number of unemployed persons is 10.1 million now, with unemployment rates for adult men, adult women, whites and Hispanics rising. IHS Global Insight's chief domestic economist Nigel Gault told the NY Times, “Clearly, these are very bad numbers. Businesses had been paring back for most of the year, but I suspect that it had been more caution on hiring rather than firing. In September, they decided, ‘O.K., look, this isn’t just a mini-recession, this is a full blown recession. We better take some action.’ And they did.”

Still, the Dow, Nasdaq and S&P 500 are up about 2% now. Today, President-elect Barack Obama is holding a conference with economic experts to discuss what his administration should do about the economy.