Unemployment rate spikes

Job losses more than double in September

The Labor Department’s monthly report, released Friday, showed that 159,000 non-farm payroll jobs had been slashed, more than double the 73,000 jobs lost in August. First-time claims for unemployment benefits had increased last week to the highest level since the period after the 2001 terror attacks.

A deeper look at the labor data, some economists said, showed the “underemployment” rate had jumped to 11 percent — the highest level in 14 years — and the number of “discouraged workers” not seeking employment work also climbed.

“Factoring in discouraged workers raises the unemployment rate to about 7.9 percent,” said the University of Maryland’s Peter Morici, former chief economist of the U.S. International Trade Commission. “As the economy slows further, this figure will likely exceed 10 percent.”

Silicon Valley has been shedding jobs at a slower pace, with tech giants anticipating a continuing slowdown in their business. The most recent state jobs report showed unemployment in Santa Clara County at 6.5 percent and statewide at 7.7 percent. California and Silicon Valley may see some “pretty scary” unemployment numbers in months to come, Levy said.