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Despite 'Stabilizing' Labor Market, Merrill Lynch Sees Jobless Rate Rise

By John S. McClenahen On Oct. 28 Chairman Alan Greenspan and the 11 other voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee said the U.S. labor market "appears to be stabilizing." But that may not mean the overall U.S. unemployment rate will be coming down anytime soon. Indeed, in its most recent economic forecast, Merrill Lynch & Co., New York, foresees the unemployment rate rising to an average of 6.4% next year from a 6.1% average this year. Merrill expects U.S. civilian unemployment to average 6.4% during the current calendar quarter, rise to an average of 6.5% in each of the first two quarters next year, slip back to a 6.4% average in the third quarter, and decline another tenth of a percentage point to a 6.3% average in the final quarter of 2004.

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