Tags: Rogoff | Unemployment | Rate | jobs

Harvard’s Rogoff: Unemployment Rate Will Still Take Years to Recover

Friday, 09 March 2012 09:08 AM

The labor market is improving but will need years before it returns to pre-crisis levels, says Harvard professor and former IMF chief economist Ken Rogoff.

"I think it's a long road ahead," he told CNBC. "It can take many years for it to hit bottom and it has. And it takes many years for it to come back up," Rogoff tells CNBC.

"We're not going to get a boom suddenly to getting 400,000, 500,000 jobs for several months which for a little while people were hoping."

Editor's Note: Meltdown on Main Street Coming, Prepare Now

The economy added a net 227,000 nonfarm payrolls in February, on the higher end of expectations. The unemployment rate officially stands at 8.3 percent, unchanged from January.

December's figures were revised from to 223,000 from 203,000, while January was revised from to 284,000 from 243,000.

As soon as the economy improves, more people will resume looking for work.

Unemployed people who quit looking for work aren't counted as part of the labor force, which keeps the headline unemployment rate low.

As soon as they jump back into the labor force, the unemployment rate will face upward pressure.

Plus many jobs during the boom will never come back.

"Some of that may never come back because some of the jobs may not have been real, but, yeah, certainly may be another two, three years before we've hit normal, whatever that is," Rogoff says.

Weekly unemployment applications stand at 362,000, the highest level since January, although overall levels are at four-year lows, according to Labor Department data.

"We are not concerned by the modest rise in claims as the downtrend remains firmly in place," Joseph LaVorgna, an economist at Deutsche Bank, writes in a note to clients, according to the Associated Press.

Editor's Note: Meltdown on Main Street Coming, Prepare Now

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