Labor report downer: 263,000 jobs lost

No good news in September, as the national unemployment rate creeps ever closer to 10 percent

Published October 2, 2009 1:14PM (EDT)

Further confirmation that the U.S. economy is nowhere close to healthy arrived with a thud Friday morning. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nonfarm payrolls continued to decline in September, with the economy losing another 263,000 jobs. That's nearly  100,000 more than the consensus forecast by economists polled by Dow Jones, and substantially higher than the number for August, which the the BLS now reports as a revised 201,000. The unemployment rate notched up again, to 9.8 percent

The overall trendline is still improving if we judge the numbers against the entire year: Two months ago, the news that job losses were under 300,000 was cause for celebration. Nonetheless, the new data confirms what had already been suggested by a slew of disappointing reports on Thursday: Unmistakable signs of economic growth are few and far between.

Does this mean that all the declarations that the recession ended over the summer are wrong? Too early too tell, but the chances that we're in the middle of what economists like to call a "W"-shaped recovery appear to be growing.

Depending on your politics or your position along the Chicago-School-Keynesian economics spectrum, feel free to declare either that a: the stimulus isn't working or b: we'd be in a depression without the stimulus.

By Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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