JOB LOSSES: A wave of government layoffs in September outpaced weak hiring in the private sector, pushing down the nation's payrolls by a net total of 95,000 jobs. It was the fourth straight month that the economy lost jobs. The unemployment rate remained stuck 9.6 percent.

PRESSURE'S ON: The report is the final one before the November midterm elections. Voter frustration over jobs threatens to cost Democrats control of the House and perhaps the Senate.

LITTLE IMPROVEMENT IN SIGHT: With economic growth weak, economists worry the jobless rate will rise and could reach 10 percent by next year.