Federal Reserve chief
Yellen, sworn in earlier this month as chairwoman of the
"The economic recovery gained greater traction in the second half of last year," Yellen said. "Real gross domestic product is currently estimated to have risen at an average annual rate of more than 3 1/2 percent in the third and fourth quarters up from a 1 3/4 percent pace in the first half."
She added: "Nevertheless, the recovery in the labor market is far from complete. The unemployment rate is still well above levels that the federal Open Market Committee participants estimate is consistent with maximum sustainable employment.
"Those out of a job more than six months continue to make up an unusually large fraction of the unemployed. And the number of people who were working part time but would prefer a full-time job remains very high.These observations underscore the importance of considering more than the unemployment rate when evaluating the condition of the U.S. labor market."
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