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From the Washington Post:

Top Federal Reserve officials expect unemployment to remain elevated for years to come, according to new projections released Tuesday, suggesting that the economic recovery will be too gradual to create rapid improvement in the job market.

The unemployment rate will be in the 6.8 to 7.5 percent range at the end of 2012, according to forecasts of 17 top Fed officials, down from its 10.2 percent rate in October but still far above the 5 percent or so level typically seen in a healthy economy. Most of the Fed leaders “anticipated that about five or six years would be needed for the economy to converge fully to a longer run path” with sustainable growth and thriving labor market.

Indeed, a separate report Tuesday said that the economy grew more slowly than first thought this summer — a 2.8 percent annual rate of gross domestic product growth in the third quarter, not the 3.5 percent first estimated. That suggests that the recovery started with less of a bang than originally reported. There was some good news on the economic data front, however, as new reports showed that home prices climbed in September and consumer confidence ticked up in November.

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