January 5, 2009 / 4:21 PM / 10 years ago

Obama expects "sobering" unemployment figures

A job seeker fills out an application at a job fair organized by the New Hampshire Employment Security agency in Salem, New Hampshire December 17, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said on Monday he expected “sobering” unemployment figures at the end of this week as he went to Capitol Hill to campaign for his economic stimulus package.

“The reason we’re here today is because the people’s business can’t wait,” Obama told reporters at a photo opportunity with House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “We’ve got an extraordinary economic challenge ahead of us, we’re expecting a sobering job report at the end of the week.”

The Labor Department will release its December employment report on Friday at 8:30 a.m. EST. According to a Reuters poll, economists are expecting payroll jobs to drop 500,000, bringing job losses for all 2008 to about 2.5 million.

Reporting by Jeremy Pelofsky, Editing by Sandra Maler

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