US: Is the worst over?
Economists now predict the joblessness rate will decline in 2010, but consumers will continue to be tough on new spending. The unemployment rate reached 10.2% in October, the highest in 26 years. Some 9 million people in the US now receive unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, the November outlook from the National Association for Business Economics says net employment losses should bottom out in the first quarter of 2010, with employers then adding to payrolls. However, companies will not ramp up hiring quickly, and 7.3 million jobs have already been eliminated since December 2007. The economy grew at a 3.5% rate in the third quarter, but the pace of the recovery is expected to be slow because of high unemployment and tight credit. Also, a housing recovery will gather momentum, abetted by low interest rates, and that sector, for the first time since 2005, should contribute to overall growth. Home sales exceeded expectations in October as first-time buyers rushed to take advantage of an expiring tax credit. For more, read the AP, AP