WASHINGTON ( TheStreet ) -- A wide array of predictions exist for the U.S. job market in January ahead of the government's nonfarm payrolls report Friday, but the more upbeat assessments come laden with a host of caveats.
First, the good news: The consensus predicts that 15,000 jobs were added to payrolls in January, according to Briefing.com. That would represent only the second positive reading in the last two years, but a definite step in the right direction after December's report showed employers shed 85,000 jobs. Still, individual estimates are varying widely in both directions, suggesting that a negative number wouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.
Analysts also expect the nation's unemployment rate to hold steady at 10%.
But job growth remains elusive. Just see Thursday's
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