By Charles Wallace, DailyFinance

NEW YORK ( DailyFinance) -- The last few months have seen a flurry of economic stimulus measures: The Federal Reserve has begun its purchase of $600 billion in bonds, and Congress has passed -- and President Barack Obama has signed -- a broad extension of tax cuts, including a surprise decision to cut the Social Security withholding tax by 2%. But will any of those measures create enough new jobs to finally get the economy moving?

Among economists, the consensus is that the job outlook will improve very slowly in the first half of 2011 -- but that unemployment numbers could keep rising through the summer. If they're right, the jobs conditions could spook consumers, who account for the bulk of economic activity, up to 70% by some measures. Businesses have shown no eagerness to start hiring in such an uncertain environment.
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Thousands of New Jobs on the Way

Kenneth Goldstein, a labor economist at the Conference Board, an executives association, expects an average of 125,000 to 150,000 new jobs to be created each month next year. He's raised his forecast from just 30 days ago, when he estimated 100,000 new jobs would be created each month, largely due to the Obama Administration's deal to extend the Bush-era tax cuts and lower the withholding tax.

Still, he warns that long-term interest rates could slow that growth. "The economic package is going to help, certainly, but it's offset by the big run-up in long-term interest rates," Goldstein says. The yield on the 10-year Treasury bond rose to 3.48% Tuesday, up about 1 percentage point from a month ago. That means it now costs homebuyers and businesses much more to borrow money than it did even a few weeks ago.

However, Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors, a Holland, Penn.-based forecasting firm, is much more sanguine about the job outlook. "I actually think we're on the cusp of a clear turnaround," Naroff says. He thinks job creation could grow to 150,000 to 200,000 new jobs per month by the summer -- and as many as 250,000 a month by year-end.