WASHINGTON (AP) - Economists are expecting a small increase in the unemployment rate when the government releases its December labor report Friday.
A majority of economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters expect a modest loss of 8,000 jobs, edging the unemployment rate up to 10.1 percent from 10 percent.
Some, however, are predicting the nation will break its 23-month-long job losing streak and add to the nation's payroll.
Even if that's the case, a slight gain in jobs wouldn't be enough to lower the unemployment rate any time soon. Experts say the economy needs to generate more than 200,000 jobs a month to make a dent in the jobless rate.
As one expert puts it, "We are in for a long, hard slog in the labor market."