Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen to tour Boston-area job center on Thursday

Industries Associated Press

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is visiting the Boston area to tour a local job center and to speak at a conference on economic opportunity, as the central bank's first female head continues her focus on employment issues in her first year in office.

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Yellen will stop in Thursday at the office of CONNECT, a coalition of local organizations that provides employment services in Chelsea, an industrial city across the Mystic River from Boston. Yellen is expected to hear about the local economy and how programs like CONNECT are helping residents enter or re-enter the workforce.

On Friday, she'll be the keynote speaker at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's conference on the "Inequality of Economic Opportunity." That two-day conference will focus on the "extent of inequality of economic opportunity in the United States and its manifestations," according to its website.

Yellen, who chaired the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton, has made employment a priority since officially succeeding Ben Bernanke and becoming the Fed's first woman chair in February.

Despite improvements in the national unemployment rate, she has argued that the labor market has not yet fully healed from the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Yellen has pointed to weak wage growth, a large number of long-term unemployed people and many workers who are part-time but who would rather have full-time jobs.

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Associated Press Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger in Washington contributed to this report.