One of the biggest media companies in the United States said it will slash its workforce in the coming weeks, and analysts fear more layoffs are still to come.
Time Warner, which is also the second biggest provider of cable television, said it will lay off almost 1,300 workers after posting a net loss of more than $8 billion for the last three months of 2008.
The announcement came on the same day two snapshots of the employment situation Wednesday showed job losses growing at the fastest pace in years.
One report by the private employment firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas said the number of layoffs announced in January jumped 45 percent from December, and more than tripled compared to the same time last year.
A second report by a private payroll company, ADP Employer Services, estimated the country shed 522,000 jobs in January.
A comprehensive government report on unemployment is due out Friday. Economists surveyed by news organizations predict the nationwide jobless rate will rise three-tenths of a percent to hit 7.5 percent.
However, there may be some good news for the U.S. economy.
A report by the private Institute for Supply Management said the U.S. service sector shrank again in January, but at a slower pace than in previous months.
The service sector includes retailers, hotel and restaurants, and accounts for about 80 percent of the country's economic activity.
Still, there are doubts that the U.S. job market will improve any time soon.
The top executive at Challenger, Gray and Christmas - the private company that issued one of the job reports - warned "there is no light at the end of the tunnel."
John Challenger said even if lawmakers pass an economic stimulus package, it will take months for it to have an impact on the number of Americans out of work.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.