Yeah, yeah, everyone is going to blame September’s disappointing job numbers on Katrina and Rita. But let’s face it: the economy was in a downward spiral before either hurricane struck, and the combination of high energy prices and drunken-sailor spending at the fedreal level is taking its toll.
Payrolls fell by 35,000 in September. That marked the first decline since May 2003, when the labor market was struggling to get back on its feet after being set back by the 2001 recession. The drop in September was the largest since a decline of 54,000 jobs in April 2003.
The unemployment rate in September rose to 5.1 percent, the highest since May. The increase — which matched economists’ expectations — came after the jobless rate had fallen to a four-year low of 4.9 percent in August.