September was ninth consecutive month of job losses

September marked the ninth consecutive month of job losses as employers cut 159,000 jobs—the fastest rate in five years, according to The Washington Post. Overall, the U.S. economy has lost 760,000 jobs this year.

"Behind all this financial meltdown has been an economy that has been underperforming for a while," says Jared Bernstein, a senior economist with the Economic Policy Institute. "This is the ninth consecutive month of job losses, which is precisely the picture of a recessionary job market."

The number of people who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more (considered long-term unemployment) increased 157,000 to 2 million. Long-term unemployed individuals accounted for 21.1 percent of all unemployed people in September, which is the highest number since 2005.

The black unemployment rate increased from 10.6 percent in August to 11.4 percent in September compared with an unchanged 5.4 percent for white workers.

Construction cut 35,000 jobs in September; retail cut 40,000 jobs; and factory jobs decreased 51,000. The health care industry experienced growth, adding 17,000 jobs. Government employment and mining also experienced growth.

Economists say enactment of the recently passed $700 billion bailout is expected to limit the economy's decline but not reverse it. Analysts believe the economy likely will be in outright decline during the rest of the year and in the first half of 2009.

"Our economy is experiencing major shocks, particularly in the housing and credit sectors, which affect every American," says U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez. "We know it will take some time to work through this difficult period."

Date : 10/8/2008