The employment scene is a disaster. We've shed 3.6 million jobs since the recession began. Private sector average weekly hours worked stuck at a record low 33.3 hours in January, and because companies typically cut hours before cutting heads the slide means more layoffs are coming. Look for this number to stabilize over a period of two or three months and then begin to inch upward for an early indicator that the economy is recovering. We won't hit a normal reading of around 35 hours for a long time. But the key is to just change the direction. You can find private sector average weekly hours worked on the Bureau of Labor Statistics web site.
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