The nation's labor market took a "substantial and widespread" hit last month as the unemployment rate rose 0.2 percent to 5.9 percent, the highest level in more than two years, the Labor Department said Friday.

In yet another sign of a weakness economy, employment levels fell sharply last month with non-farm payrolls losing 267,000 jobs. Manufacturing, construction and retail jobs were hard hit. Only mining and the service industry added jobs during the month.November's job loss was the greatest since the recession of 1982 and the second consecutive large monthly decline.

Bucking the national trend, Utah's jobless rate in November stood at 4.3 percent, a 0.2 percent drop from October, according to the monthly Utah Department of Employment Security report.

Lecia Parks Langston, the department's chief economist, said the lower Utah rate resulted from a drop in the number of Utahns entering the labor force.

"People may now be discouraged by the psychology of the tightening national labor market and are not looking for work. In addition, Utah's economy has expanded sufficiently for these unemployed entrants to find jobs," Langston said.

Utah's November rate was slightly lower than the November 1989 figure of 4.4 percent, the report said.

Nationally, the number of unemployed workers swelled by 300,000 to 7.4 million. Most of the newly jobless were adult men. Unemployment rates for adult men now have reached 5.4 percent.

Jobless rates in other categories also increased. The rate for adult women reached 5.1 percent last month; teenagers, 16.5 percent; whites, 5.1 percent; blacks, 12.4 percent and Hispanics, 8.6 percent.

Total civilian employment declined by 450,000 to 117.3 million, continuing a downward trend that began in June.