How full employment became Washington's creed

Efforts to contain the virus prompted joblessness to skyrocket to levels not seen since the Great Depression. PHOTO: NYTIMES
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WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - As United States President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office this week, his administration and the Federal Reserve are pointed towards a singular economic goal: Get the job market back to where it was before the pandemic hit.

The humming labour backdrop that existed 11 months ago - with 3.5 per cent unemployment, stable or rising workforce participation and steadily climbing wages - turned out to be a recipe for lifting all boats, creating economic opportunities for long-disenfranchised groups and lowering poverty rates. And price gains remained manageable and even a touch on the low side. That contrasts with efforts to push the labour market's limits in the 1960s, which are widely blamed for laying the groundwork for runaway inflation.

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