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Fed's Lockhart bemoans 'far from normal' US labor market

People browse booths at a military veterans' job fair in Carson, Calif., October 3, 2014.
Lucy Nicholson | Reuters
People browse booths at a military veterans' job fair in Carson, Calif., October 3, 2014.

The share of part-time workers in the U.S. labor force is likely to remain high, meaning the labor market is still "far from normal," Atlanta Federal Reserve President Dennis Lockhart said on Thursday.

In remarks prepared for delivery to a conference on workforce development, Lockhart said there was likely to be some reduction in the use of part-time workers as the economy strengthens further, but probably not to levels seen before the recession.

"In other words, preference for part-time workers is likely to persist," he said. "For Fed policy purposes, the balance of evidence suggests the labor market is still far from normal, even if normal is not what it used to be."

Lockhart said the workforce development community would have to adjust accordingly, given that temporary, part-time workers were the least likely to receive training sponsored by employers.

More work was needed to improve job applicants' soft skills, including effective training for adult workers, he said.