The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 4.4%, nearly its lowest point in a decade. While the unemployment rate reflects the millions of Americans who are out of work and actively seeking employment, the measure does not fully capture the degree to which Americans are unable to find the jobs they want.
In addition to those seven million Americans captured by the traditional unemployment rate, there are millions more who are working part-time jobs because they could not find full-time employment, as well a large share of workers who have recently given up on their job search altogether and are now marginally attached to the workforce.
> Underemployment rate: 11.1%
> June unemployment rate: 4.7% (tied — 11th highest)
> Average wage: $62,947 (4th highest)
> Labor force growth: 1.1% (20th largest increase)
In California, 11.1% of the labor force are underemployed, far higher than the 9.5% national rate. One factor driving up the state’s high labor underutilization is the large share of workers settling for a part-time job after failing to find full-time employment, which at 4.6% is the second largest share of any state. While California’s underemployment rate has improved from 12.0% one year ago, the rate has yet to return to the pre-recessionary level of 9.1% in 2006.
The underemployment rate — a combination of unemployed job seekers, discouraged and other marginally attached workers, and people settling for part-time jobs as a share of the labor force — is a more comprehensive measure of labor underutilization, and this measure varies considerably across the country.
To determine the easiest and hardest states to find full-time work, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed underemployment rates in all 50 states with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The underemployment rate ranges from below 7% in some states to over 11% in others.