According to the Labor Department, the number of people out of work for more than 27 weeks increased to 2.4 million in September, an increase of 32.5 percent from the previous month. There are 4.9 million people who have been unemployed between 15 and 26 weeks.

Workers who have been separated from their jobs for more than 6 months typically have a more difficult time getting back to work even once the economy improves.

“Last week we saw the biggest spike in long-term unemployment since they started measuring long-term unemployment,” said Michele Evermore, senior researcher and policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.