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US unemployment drops to four-year low

United States America,Business/Economy, Sat, 08 Dec 2012 IANS

Washington, Dec 8 (IANS) The US jobless rate sank to a four-year low in November, but millions remained out of work in an economy still struggling to recover from a recession that ended nearly four years ago, experts said.

"This morning's jobs report ... provides a clear reminder that mass joblessness remains the real and present economic danger the US faces," said Heidi Shierholz, labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute.

"At this rate of job growth, it will take more than 10 years to return to the pre-recession unemployment rate."

The economy created 146,000 jobs in November, according to the Labor Department, a figure just above the 100,000 jobs per month economists say are needed just to keep pace with new entrants into the labor force, reported Xinhua.

While the jobless rate fell to 7.7 percent in November, the lowest since December 2008, from 7.9 percent in October, the Labor Department said the slide was because more people gave up looking for work and dropped out of the labor force.

Indeed, 542,000 Americans were not counted in the jobless report because the survey only counted those who did not have jobs and were actively seeking work.

Shierholz said Friday's jobs picture draws attention to the labor force's major long-term unemployment crisis.

The US has 4.8 million workers who have been unemployed for more than six months, four times as many as the 1.2 million average in 2007, she noted.

The share of unemployed workers out of work for more than six months declined to 40.1 percent in November, but it is still far above the highest levels in any of the last three recessions, Shierholz said.

"The large number of long-term unemployed is unsurprising given that there have been three or more unemployed workers for every job opening for more than four years," she said.



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