Rex Nutting
MarketWatch
March 1, 2009

[efoods]The recession tightened its grip on U.S. businesses and consumers in February, according to economists, who are predicting the largest one-month job loss in almost 60 years.

“Pink slips continue to fly,” said Meny Grauman, an economist for CIBC World Markets.

With output still falling at a dizzying rate, most companies are shedding unneeded workers and cutting back the hours of those remaining. Strapped by debt and seeing their paper wealth evaporating, many consumers are spending as little as they can.

“The economic patient is still in critical condition, with little medication to relieve the pain,” wrote economists Brian Bethune and Nigel Gault of IHS Global Insight. “We will have to bite the bullet.”
The first week of the new month brings two of the most important economic indicators: the ISM index and the nonfarm payrolls report. Both are expected to be very grim news.

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