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Unemployed and discouraged

Those described as discouraged -- who are available and want to work but have stopped looking for jobs -- can affect the data significantly because of how the government calculates the jobless rate. They are considered part of the labor force and are counted in the official unemployment rate only if they are looking for work. So dropping out can deflate the rate, and resuming a search can inflate it.

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Senate advances bill to reinstate jobless benefits
Article | The Senate broke a months-long stalemate Tuesday over a plan to restore emergency jobless benefits to millions of people who have been out of work for more than six months, voting to advance the measure over Republican objections that it would add $34 billion to the nation's bloated budget deficit.
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Unemployment likely to linger as jobs grow
Article | The increase in jobs highlighted in the nation's most recent unemployment report carried the sound of economic promise, but Obama administration officials said Sunday that the public shouldn't expect any dramatic improvement in the jobless rate, largely because of the effect of thousands of "disc...

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