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VOL. 129 | NO. 55 | Thursday, March 20, 2014

Yellen: US 'Not Close to Full Employment'

JOSH BOAK | AP Economics Writer

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WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says the U.S. economy is "not close to full employment," even as the unemployment rate has dropped a full percentage point over the past 12 months to 6.7 percent.

The Fed downplayed the importance of the unemployment rate as a sign of the economy's health. Fed officials ended their two-day meeting having eliminated a previous commitment to consider raising short-term interest rates once the unemployment rate fell below 6.5 percent. The Fed will assess other measures of the economy as well.

The unemployment rate has fallen despite sluggish growth of 1.9 percent last year, in part because many people have stopped looking for work. Once people stop seeking a job, they're no longer counted as unemployed, and the unemployment rate can fall as a result.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 124 481 17,865
MORTGAGES 127 530 20,565
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 4 48 2,693
BUILDING PERMITS 195 891 36,836
BANKRUPTCIES 52 262 11,426
BUSINESS LICENSES 24 139 5,848
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 26 116 6,830
MARRIAGE LICENSES 26 133 4,049