WASHINGTON - The country is bracing for more bad news on the jobs front. In advance of Friday's employment snapshot from the Labor Department, economists were predicting that employers cut jobs yet again in April. That would mark the fourth straight month of job losses. The unemployment rate, now at 5.1 percent, is expected to edge up a notch.
Businesses are handing out more and more pink slips as they cope with an economy that is teetering on the edge of a recession, or possibly in one already. A severe housing slump, harder-to-get credit and financial turmoil have forced people and businesses to be more cautious in their spending. And that has hurt the economy.
The economy grew at a feeble 0.6 percent pace in the first three months of this year. A growing number of analysts believe the economy is shrinking now, one of the signals of recession.