Hopes of an early economic recovery on Main Street were dashed after 85,000 jobs were reportedly lost during December. “The nation lost 85,000 jobs from the economy in December, the Labor Department reported Friday, as hopes for a vigorous recovery ran headlong into the prospect that paychecks could remain painfully scarce into next year. ‘We’re still losing jobs,’ said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington. ‘It’s nothing like we had in the free fall of last winter, but we’re not about to turn around. We’re still looking at a really weak economy.’ The disappointing snapshot of the job market intensified pressure on the Obama administration to show results for the $787 billion spending bill it championed last year to stimulate the economy. At a news conference, Mr. Obama acknowledged the December data as a setback, while outlining plans to deliver $2.3 billion in tax credits to spur manufacturing jobs in clean energy. ‘We have to continue to explore every avenue to accelerate the return to hiring,’ the president told reporters. Most economists assume the unemployment rate — which held steady at 10 percent in December — will worsen in coming months. The nation would then confront the highest jobless rate in a generation on the eve of November elections that will determine the balance of power in Congress.”
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