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I agree that overall efficiency is important, but in terms of a reasonably coherent society, the unemployment number also seems pretty important. In the long-term, either almost everyone needs some sort of job, most of the time, or we need a plan B to accomodate a large portion of the population being long-term unemployed.

If, say, we have long-term 20% unemployment, even if the economy was otherwise booming, this 20% of the population with no real source of income poses a big problem. Either we have to figure how they can participate in the economy somehow (which would mean the unemployment rate would go down, solving the problem), or, if long-term there is going to be a persistent higher unemployment rate, then we have to do something different about it (perhaps a guaranteed-minimum subsistence income along the lines that Friedman and Hayek advocated).

You're right, but we need more transparency. What are the skills of the 9% or so of people that are unemployed now? Do the majority of the unemployed people work at similar types of jobs? What was the reason they lost their jobs?

These are all important questions for reducing that one overall number, but everyone seems to be just focusing on the total number.

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