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March 2006

Lower unemployment in 2005

Emy Sok

The Current Population Survey data show continued improvement in the labor market in 2005, as reflected by a decline in unemployment and substantial employment growth. Also notable were the decline in the long-term unemployed--both in their level and as a percentage of total unemployment--and the continuing decline of involuntary part-time workers. Overall, participation rates were little changed over the year. Weekly earnings increased in 2005, but at a slower pace than inflation. Special labor force data collected on Hurricane Katrina evacuees revealed a marked difference in the employment status of those who had returned to their prehurricane residence and those who had not.

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