Employers slashed payrolls by 159,000 in September, the most in more than 5 years and a worrisome sign that the economy is hurtling toward a deep recession. Today's snapshot also showed the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 6.1% as hundreds of thousands of people streamed out of the work force. It marked the 9th straight month that the economy has lost jobs.
The reduction in payrolls was much sharper than the 100,000 cuts economists were forecasting. "The economy is now sliding down the slippery slope of recession," one economist says. So far this year, 760,000 jobs have disappeared.