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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: It’s a new year and economists are looking deep into their crystal balls. Today we bring you the jobs forecast. Marketplace’s Amy Scott reports.
AMY SCOTT: 2006 was a strong year for job growth. In October the unemployment rate hit a five-year low of 4.4 percent.
But economist Nigel Gault with Global Insight predicts that rate could creep back up to about five percent in the coming year, as the construction and manufacturing sectors continue to shed jobs.
NIGEL GAULT: The overall economy is going to remain a bit on the sluggish side as it was in the second half of ’06. That we think will put a little bit of slack back into the jobs market.
Five percent unemployment is still a fairly low rate, says John Challenger with outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas.
JOHN CHALLENGER: Unless the economy catches the flu because of the housing industry or automotive, most sectors should be OK.
Those who have jobs may find their wallets a little plumper.
Global Insight’s Nigel Galut says the relatively tight labor market is pushing wages up, and with inflation moderating, those dollars go further.
In New York, I’m Amy Scott for Marketplace.
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