Clinton sees economy tilting toward recession

Presidential candidates U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton and U.S. Senator Barak Obama meet onstage between back to back Republican and Democratic debates at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire January 5, 2008. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton said on Saturday she believed the U.S. economy was heading toward a recession.

Citing jobs data on Friday that showed the U.S. unemployment rate rising to its highest level in more than two years, Clinton said, “I think the economy is slipping toward recession.”

U.S. employers added only 18,000 jobs in December, underlining a dramatically slowing economy. In addition, oil prices topped $100 a barrel this week.

“The unemployment figures on Friday hitting 5 percent, $100-a-barrel oil that we also hit this week, the fall of the dollar, there’s a lot of pressure on middle-class families and a kind of cost that they have to keep up with have all gone up astronomically,” the New York senator said in a debate with Democratic rivals before New Hampshire’s tight nominating contest on Tuesday.

The thinking on Wall Street is that a recession cannot be avoided without serious help from the U.S. Federal Reserve and only if troubles in the housing and credit markets have bottomed out, analysts say.

Reporting by Jason Szep and Scott Malone; Editing by Peter Cooney