"WASHINGTON - Dangerous cracks in the nation's job market are
deepening. Employers slashed jobs by the largest amount in five years
and hundreds of thousands of people dropped out of the labor force —
ominous signs that the country is falling toward a recession or has
already toppled into one.
the second straight month, nervous employers got rid of jobs
nationwide. In February, they sliced payrolls by 63,000, even deeper
than the 22,000 cut in January, the Labor Department reported Friday.
The grim snapshot of the country's employment climate underscored
the heavy toll the housing and credit debacles are taking on companies,
jobseekers and the economy as a whole.
"It sounds like the recession bell is ringing for the U.S. economy,
although it is still faint," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group."