The US economy lost another 95,000 jobs in September, as public sector cuts outpaced hiring by the private sector.
According to the Labor Department figures, the fall was almost double August's 54,000 job loss number.
The jobless rate held at 9.6%, but still marks the 14th straight month it has been above 9.5%.
The jobs news sent stocks slightly higher after raising expectations the US Federal Reserve will take further action to pump money into the economy.
The main Dow Jones index closed above 11,000 for the first time in five months, rising 58 points to 11,006.48.
A total of 159,000 government lay-offs were made in September, with the private sector adding 64,000 positions, the weakest gain since June.
Of the public sector job cuts, about 76,000 were in local government, with a large number of lay-offs among teachers, analysts said.
The so-called "under-employment rate" - those who have given up looking for work or are part-timers seeking full-time posts - rose to 17.1% in September from 16.7% in August.
Sectors showing jobs growth included healthcare, retailing, and leisure and hospitality.
In the private sector, the manufacturing and construction industries cut the most jobs.
Meanwhile, revisions to data for July and August showed 15,000 more jobs were lost in those months than previously reported.
The jobless data is the Labor Department's final report before November's elections to Congress, when the Democrats will come under intense pressure about the state of the economy.