Teachers and students from California demonstrate against potential statewide cuts of up to $4 billion in education spending. More than 9,000 planned layoffs were reported in education sector in April, according to the planned layoffs report from Challenger, Gray and Christmas. - 

Jeremy Hobson: Tomorrow we'll get the most important economic indicator of the month - the April jobs report from the Labor Department. It will tell us how many jobs were created last month, and what the new unemployment rate is. One thing we know this morning is that if tomorrow's report is bad, it'll be mainly due to a lack of hiring - rather than a surge in layoffs.

The job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says planned layoffs were basically flat last month. CEO John Challenger joins us now live from Chicago with more on this.

So what do your numbers tell you about the job market in general?

Challenger: We saw just over 40,ooo (job) cuts in the month of April, that was up 7 percent from what we saw the month before, but 11 percent from April a year ago. So the cuts seem to be slowly growing, in line with this very slow growth economy.

If we don't see a pickup in the economy, more growth will be tough for job creation to grow to the levels we need to see unemployment drop.

Hobson: I saw in your report that a lot of the planned layoffs were in the education sector.

Challenger: Education was hard hit in the month. School districts continue to be under pressure to cut costs amid the state and local budget deficits. Over 9,000 cuts announced in that area.

Hobson: What do you think about the recent slowdown we've seen in job creation recently - what do you think is causing that and will it continue?

Challenger: We'll see. It happened last month for the first time after six strong months of job creation. The high price of gasoline certainly is affecting the transportation sector - goods getting across the country, and that could be the real issue there

Hobson: John Challenger, CEO of Challenger, Gray and Christmas, thanks as always.

Challenger: Thank you.

Follow Jeremy Hobson at @jeremyhobson