An extra 45,500 people were added to the rolls of those seeking work, a 1.5 percent increase from September.
The ministry of labour said the number of people without any work rose to 3.1 million, up 10.6 percent from October 2011.
The number of workers registered for unemployment benefits who are employed part-time also rose significantly, up 71,500 from in September.
When this category of jobless persons is included, the total number of people seeking work climbs to 4.58 million.
The increase is the highest seen since April 2009, a period marked by the global financial crisis.
And the number of people out of work has not been as high since May 1998 as layoffs take their toll and workers over the age of 50 find it tougher to find jobs.
The figures come as another bad dose of news for the Socialist government of François Hollande.
Since Hollande was elected in May, 230,000 people have been added to the jobless rolls.
“This negative series of numbers reinforces our determination to act together to reverse the curve between now and the end of next year,” Labour Minister Michel Sapin told French media.