Economics Question

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On the first Friday of this month, (Feb. 2017), data was released showing that in January 2017 the official unemployment rate had increased from 4.7% in Dec. 2016 to 4.8%. Economists had predicted no change in the unemployment rate. However, data also showed that job growth in January was 227,000 over the Dec. 2016 level. This was well above economists’ estimates. Finally, data was released that showed nominal weekly wages and benefits were only 1.9% higher in January 2017 than in January 2016.

A) How is it possible for the unemployment rate to rise while employment growth is noticeably stronger than expected?

B) What does the fact that the employment growth occurred without any increase in wages and benefits above the modest ~2% growth typical over the past year suggest about whether the economy is “at” full employment.

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