Opinion

The Great Debate

from Ask...:

Reaction to shocking jobless data


November's job losses were the steepest since December 1974, when 602,000 jobs were shed. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted a reduction of 340,000 jobs.

"This is a clear employment blowout. Firms are reacting as dramatically as they can to make sure they have cost structures they can survive the recession we are in," said Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.

One reader commenting on the site feels the job losses have not hit bottom. "I predict 30% unemployment by March of 2009. The retailers are gonna tank right after Christmas. Look for some really good deals!" wrote Smacktle.

Not all responses were as dire.

"Well these are pretty bad numbers. This will be a real test to see how much bad news is priced into the markets. Futures are down quite a bit, but I actually expected them to be down a lot more given these terrible recessionary numbers," says Jeff Kleintop, chief market strategist for LPL Financial in Boston.

"It might be hard in future months to get numbers that are any worse. It might be good that we raced to some of the worst numbers we've had because perhaps it can't get incrementally worse."

Bailout for automakers?

automakers

As Congress debates legislation to help struggling automakers, many Americans say they are uneasy with the plan, arguing that while it may save jobs, it would reward companies for pursuing bad business practices. Some even question whether automakers will be viable, even with support.

“They need to restructure. If they get bailed out they are not going to do it,” said Eric Smith, a paint contractor interviewed in Chamblee, Georgia, on the outskirts of Atlanta.

U.S. automakers say federal aid is vital to their survival, and there could be devastating ramifications for the broader economy if the sector is not stabilized.

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