In September, the economy lost 159,000 jobs, according to the Employment Report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Generally, about 150,000 new jobs are needed each month to keep the economy stable.
Year-over-year, employment declined .64%, slightly worse than August's decline of .5%, and continuing the downward trend begun in January 2006. The last time year-over-year job growth trended down this severely was in 2001, which led to 29 months of job losses. However, the current trend is not quite as severe, which may mean it won't last as long. (See Google Spreadsheet Employment)
The unemployment rate stayed at 6.1%. This also continues a worsening trend begun in October 2006, when unemployment was at a low of 4.4%. The total number of unemployed is 9.5 million, about the same as last month, and 2.2 million more than last year in August. (Source: BLS, Employment Situation Summary)
The economy now has 4.32% fewer manufacturing jobs than the year before, continuing the decline begun October 2006. Manufacturing jobs are a good leading indicator of overall economic performance, since they produce big-ticket items that consumers will put off buying when the economy starts to weaken. As the orders decline, manufacturers will hire less workers, and even lay off existing workers to keep costs low. (See Google Spreadsheet Manufacturing Jobs)
For a history of employment reports since March 2007, read Employment Statistics History.
What This Means for You
Health care is really the only area that is growing, so if you are considering a change, now would be a good time to get some training for that field. If you have been laid off, then these articles will help you get a new job, so that you won't be a statistic in next month's unemployment report.