The rise in the unemployment rate in January appears to have been largely the result of the government shut down. But, the March drop in the rate was not the result of stronger labor market conditions. Rather, a decline in the labor force offset a decline in employment. That type of event happens with some frequency. And it is one of the main reasons that careful analysis of the reasons for changes in the unemployment rate are crucial to a correct understanding of the current dynamic of the labor market.

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