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: 7.8%
> June unemployment rate: 4.3% (tied — 20th highest)
> Average wage: $67,429 (2nd highest)
> Labor force growth: 0.2% (13th smallest increase)
In Massachusetts, 7.8% of the labor force is underemployed, well below the 9.5% national figure. One factor contributing to the healthy employment situation in Massachusetts is the state’s highly educated workforce. A college degree can increase the chance of finding full-time employment. An estimated 41.5% of adults in Massachusetts have at least a bachelor’s degree, the largest share nationwide.
While Massachusetts is one the easier states in which to find full-time employment, worker confidence is relatively low as of late. Some 1.3% of the Massachusetts labor force has given up looking for work in recent weeks, the largest share of any state with an unemployment rate below the U.S. rate and nearly the largest such share in the country.
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.