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With full employment in view, who’s still looking for work?

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We’re getting awfully close to what economists call full employment. It means that unemployment is low enough that everyone who wants a job can pretty much find one. So if you push the unemployment rate a whole lot lower, you start to get imbalances in the economy, like acute labor shortages in some sectors and wages spiking as employers scramble to find people to work for them. But by most estimates, we’re not there yet. Because even with unemployment down to 4.7 percent, there are still a lot of people in this country who could work, and want to work, but haven’t found a job yet. They tend to be less educated, less skilled workers, especially those in industries that are contracting. African-Americans are still unemployed at twice the rate of whites; young people are underemployed overall. Moms in their 20s and 30s are having some challenges, especially in information technology, where skills can become outdated fast. 

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