Business: Unemployment Goal?

Pick a target: 4%, 5%—even 7%

After more than two years of recovery from the nation's worst postwar recession, lines at unemployment offices remain distressingly long, jobless youths cluster aimlessly on ghetto street corners, and politicians and economists continue to fret about the need to put more Americans to work. For Jimmy Carter, who campaigned on a platform dedicated to slashing unemployment, the persistently high rate of joblessness has become a critical challenge. Like his recent predecessors, Carter has yet to find the answer—if indeed one exists—for substantially reducing unemployment without setting off...

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