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Bernanke Says Still Awful Lot of Slack in U.S. Labor Market

Reuters (11/08/13) Alister Bull

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday that an “awful lot of slack” still exists in the U.S. labor market, but warned that no accurate measures of the slack exist.

“I think the unemployment rate probably understates the degree of slack in the labor market. I think the employment-population ratio overstates it somewhat, because there are important downward trends in participation,” he said during a panel discussion at the International Monetary Fund. “But that being said, I think we would agree that there is an awful lot of slack in the labor market—a lot of young people living with their parents and the like—and that is a very important imperative, and why the Federal Reserve in particular is taking strong actions to support job creation.”