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The unemployment rate for the month of December 2001 was 5.8 percent, up 0.2% from a revised 5.6% for November. The number of individuals employed decreased by 124,000. The monthly unemployment announcements receive headline treatment almost every month. Changes are significant indicators of national economic conditions and have relevance to every local community as unemployment has significant costs to the individuals who are unemployed and to the entire community and the U.S. economy. Those costs are explored in this lesson. Changes in levels of employment are also included in the announcements and are equally important indicators of the direction of the U.S. economy. This particular announcement will receive additional attention as it is a large increase in unemployment, combined with increasing concern that the U.S. economy is already in or will soon be in a recession.
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