NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Anyone hoping for a job in the next few months might be out of luck.


National Association for Business Economics'

most recent survey of 70 corporate economists found only 29% of them think businesses will add to their payrolls in the next six months, the lowest percentage to predict hires since the beginning of 2010. By comparison, 43% predicted hiring would increase when surveyed in July.

It may take a holiday miracle to land a job this year, as fewer economists expect businesses to expand their payrolls.

Much of this pessimism can be pinned to the debt crisis in Europe, which caused economists to lower their expectations for how quickly the economy -- and more specifically, business sales -- will grow. More than three-quarters of those surveyed now expect the economy to grow at a rate of 2% or less in 2011, much higher than the 23% who thought the economy would be this sluggish back in July.

While more economists now expect the pace of economic growth to slow and reduce the demand for hires, only 3% actually expect businesses to lay off more workers, since sales are generally up for most firms -- just not up as much as some had previously hoped.

In short, it looks like the labor market may maintain the status quo for the next few months, neither growing much nor shedding too many jobs. That might come as welcome news for those who are employed, but it won't likely do much to console the millions still looking for work.

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