Employers shed 263,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in September, well above economists’ estimates, as the unemployment rate increased to 9.8%, the Labor Department reported Friday.

The rate is at the highest level since June 1983, when it was 10.1%. Since the recession began in December 2007, payroll employment has fallen by 7.2 million, and the unemployment rate has doubled.

Economists polled by Thomson Reuters expected payrolls to fall by 180,000 and for unemployment to climb to 9.8%, according to the median estimate.

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