Deep Losses Expected in March Jobs Report

The economy lost more than 80,000 jobs in the first two months of this year. Economic forecasters are predicting that hiring will be flat in March.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.


Now, Motorola's latest round of layoffs will not figure into today's unemployment report. It's too recent. But economists still expect to see more jobs lost when the government releases its latest numbers this morning. Here's NPR's Frank Langfitt.

FRANK LANGFITT: Economists predict the economy lost as many as 60,000 jobs last month. They say the problems that began with housing and subprime mortgages are spreading to the broader job market.

John Silva is chief economist at Wachovia. He says businesses of all kinds are becoming more cautious about staffing.

Mr. JOHN SILVA (Chief Economist, Wachovia): So what's happened is -especially in the service sector - hiring has really dried up, but we've not laid off a lot of people. Most of the layoffs really are focused in the construction industry and then modestly in the manufacturing industry.

LANGFITT: Lawrence Katz is a labor economist at Harvard. He says normally solid sectors, like retail trade and hospitality are showing weakness. And that's leaving fewer areas to drive job growth.

Professor LAWRENCE KATZ (Labor economist, Harvard): So basically the only sectors that haven't taken a hit yet seem to be professional business services and basically health.

LANGFITT: While the recent job losses are worrisome, they're not yet as deep as some past recessions. During one stretch, between 1990 and 1991, the nation lost an average of more than 200,000 jobs a month.

Frank Langfitt, NPR News, Washington.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.