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Job indicators review overall outlook

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Jill Barshay: One indicator says businesses cut just under a half million jobs last month. Another said employers are planning fewer layoffs.

Joel Prakken is the chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers. He crunches the numbers for ADP, a payroll processing company that came up with the first figure. Prakken says a half million jobs may sound like a lot, but it was far less than the 700,000 layoffs in March.

Joel Prakken: We often tell our clients less of a negative is a positive, and we had less of a negative.

Prakken says it might be tempting to look at all of this week's job numbers and conclude the economy's on the mend. But he says it's too early for that.

Prakken: I want to remind you that a job loss of 491,000 in one month is a very severe job loss. It's a recession-like loss of jobs.

We've already lost 4 million jobs. Prakken says as the recession grinds on, we could easily lose a million more. He predicts unemployment will hit 9.5 percent before we bottom out later this year.

In New York, I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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