Sharp Drop In Jobless Rate Raises Questions For Economists - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sharp Drop In Jobless Rate Raises Questions For Economists

A "Pink Slip" protest in New York last month aimed to keep the focus firmly on the problem of unemployment. The economy has been adding about 200,000 jobs a month -- not enough to make a serious dent in long-term unemployment; Photo courtesy MSNBC A "Pink Slip" protest in New York last month aimed to keep the focus firmly on the problem of unemployment. The economy has been adding about 200,000 jobs a month -- not enough to make a serious dent in long-term unemployment; Photo courtesy MSNBC

MSNBC.COM - Something in Friday's employment data won't add up.

For the past 50 years, it's been widely assumed that the jobless rate can't fall much unless the economy expands faster than its normal pace. Anything less only creates enough jobs to keep up with the growth of the labor force -- not absorb the millions left unemployed by the latest downturn.

But over the past six months, the U.S. unemployment rate has surprised economists by rapidly falling to 8.3 percent from 9.1 percent even as the economy has yet to get back up to pre-recession speed. According to the textbooks, that's not supposed to happen.

The unexplained drop has touched off a debate among dismal scientists, who have gone back to their chalkboards to try to figure out what is happening. click here to read more

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