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Labor numbers positive, but suspect

A "Now Hiring" sign displayed in a store window

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: There was one piece of good news out this morning. The Labor Department said fewer people applied for unemployment insurance this week.
But even that might not say much. Marketplace's Janet Babin reports from North Carolina Public Radio.


Janet Babin: Standard and Poors economist David Wyss says today's Labor numbers may be suspect:

David Wyss: The timing of Thanksgiving can toss the numbers all over the place, because of all the seasonal hiring that's done by retailers.

The report is in line with economists' forecasts. But Wyss is still fearful that the global housing bubble and subprime meltdown could cause a recession:

Wyss: We've raised our probability -- we think it's gonna be about 40 percent chance. Not so much because of the housing problem, because that we've had in our forecast for the last years or so, but because on top of that we've got $100 oil to deal with.

Still, Wyss says the nation survived $300 billion in losses after the savings and loan crisis of the early 90's, so we should be able to weather the current subprime storm.

I'm Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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