The U.S. economy is shedding at an annual pace of about 1.3 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the Commerce Department.
The number of jobs in the economy is down more than 6,000.
And the unemployment rate is still at 4.5 percent.
The economy lost 3.2 million jobs last year, according the Commerce Bureau.
The economic news is grim, but it’s not nearly as bad as some have predicted.
“It is disappointing but not quite the calamity we had feared,” said Paul Ashworth, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.
The jobless rate is expected to climb to 6.2 percent in March, up from 6.1 percent in February, the Commerce Office said.
The jobs market is weak.
The U-6 index of job creation fell 0.4 percent to 62.2, its lowest level since January 2008.
“The economy is still recovering from the deep recession that we went through in the mid-2000s,” Ashworth said.
But it also is growing at a slower pace.
The unemployment rate rose to 5.9 percent in April from 5.8 percent in the same month last year.
“As we go through this period, I think there is a growing concern that we’re going to have an economic slowdown,” Ashwillow said.
“That’s going to be a factor in the next two months, because it will be hard to get things back to pre-recession levels.”
In addition, the labor force participation rate, which measures how many people are working, is down from its peak of 75.9 in March.
That was a surprise to many economists, including Ashworth.
“I’ve always thought that the labor participation rate was going to come down,” he said.