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Jobs: Bad January Fuels Recession Fears

A payrolls decline of 17,000 on the monthfar below what the market expectedhas amped up talk of a U.S. economic downturn

By BW, S&P, and Action Economics Staff

The latest news on January's labor market suggests that the U.S. economy may be slipping into a recession. On Feb. 1, the Labor Dept.'s employment report for January showed that nonfarm payrolls fell 17,000 during the month, a surprise for the markets, which had expected a 55,000 rise. The decline marked the first negative payrolls figure since August, 2003.