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Fed's Lacker says labor market changes structural, not cyclical

Lynchburg, Va., June 26 (Reuters) - U.S. labor market data since 2008 reflects structural trends rather cyclical changes, a Federal Reserve official said on Thursday, adding that there seems to be no more slack now than is usually associated with current unemployment levels.

In prepared remarks for a speech in Lynchburg, Virginia, Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker said that the structural changes in the economy over the past five years make it difficult for monetary policy to offset.

Lacker said evidence from employers in the area covered by the Richmond Fed show that they were unable to find workers with the necessary skills, despite a large pool of unemployed workers.

Citing research by a Richmond Fed economist, Lacker said the "unusually large rise in long-term unemployment suggests that it was caused by an increase in the number of unemployed workers who were inherently less likely to exit unemployment."

(Reporting by Michael Flaherty; Editing by Paul Simao)