When the Labor Department reported that the jobless rate fell to 7.8 percent in September, the first time it had fallen below 8 percent in nearly four years, many conservative politicians and business leaders questioned its veracity and suggested the Obama administration manipulated the numbers in an election year. However, a Gallup poll puts the rate at an even lower 7.3 percent. However, those figures may mask deeper problems, like the shrinkage of the overall employment base and the number of people who have simply given up looking for a job.

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