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WASHINGTON (AP) — Friday's employment report from the Labor Department could provide clues about whether the U.S. can continue to create jobs even as global growth has flagged and financial markets have sunk.
Most economists are optimistic. The survey by data firm FactSet forecasts that employers added a healthy 200,000 jobs in December and that the unemployment rate remained at a low 5 percent for a third straight month.
Most analysts expect solid U.S. consumer spending to offset weakness overseas. If employers continue to hire steadily and to raise wages consistently, consumers are expected to keep spending and to support U.S. economic growth even if foreign economies struggle.
Still, stumbling growth in countries like China, the world's second-largest economy, and financial market turmoil could pose long-term challenges. A strong dollar and faltering global growth have cut into exports of factory goods.
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