Economy could lose 2M jobs in '09 - report

Conference Board says there's no sign that labor market will improve any time soon.

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By Larissa Padden, CNNMoney contributing writer

Have stock market losses caused you to postpone retirement plans?
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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The nation could lose 2 million more jobs in 2009 after the loss of 2.6 million last year, a business research firm said in an employment report issued Monday.

The forecast came in a report issued by the Conference Board, which said its Employment Trends Index fell 1.6% last month to stand at 99.6.

"The continued deterioration in the Employment Trends Index signals that no turnaround in the labor market is expected in the near future," Conference Board senior economist Gad Levanon said in the report.

The index has declined for 17 straight months, with drops of 1.6% or more over the past six months.

Wachovia chief economist John Silvia says that nothing has really changed in this month's report.

"I know that this is frustrating for a lot of people because they would like to see a change in the trend," Silvia said. "But what we're seeing is the same as before."

However, Silvia also said that the worst may be behind us and that 2 million more jobs seems a bit aggressive an assessment.

"A lot of companies have already cleared the decks in 2008," Silvia said. "Given that we've already claimed a loss of 2.6 million jobs, we can probably expect to see another million and a half."

But the job market remains tough for those looking for work. The "jobs hard to get" component of the report rose to 42% in December from 37.1% in November.

"We can expect to see a further decline in the next six months, but we've probably already seen the biggest number we're going to see," said Silvia.  To top of page

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