Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Friday that there was still an "awful lot of slack" in the U.S. labor market, but cautioned that economic data did not do a good job of providing an accurate measure.
"I think the unemployment rate probably understates the degree of slack in the labor market. I think the employment-population ratio overstates it somewhat, because there are important downward trends in participation," he said in response to an audience question during a panel discussion at the IMF.
"But that being said, I think we would agree that there is an awful lot of slack in the labor market - a lot of young people living with their parents and the like - and that is a very important imperative, and why the Federal Reserve in particular is taking strong actions to support job creation."
Bernanke was not specifically referring to the latest employment report, released earlier on Friday, which showed the unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent in October.