Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Labor Underutilization Measures for States

A new webpage, Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States, has been posted on the BLS site. A table on this page shows U-1 to U-6 for the states (2008 annual averages). For example, U-4 includes discouraged workers. By this measure the unemployment rate in New Jersey in 2008 was 5.7 percent, while the rate for New York was 5.9 percent.

As a BLS reconomist noted: "Though these data pertain to the recently-ended calendar year, the deterioration in the labor market in 2008 was so rapid and pronounced that many of these measures understate the current degree of labor market underutilization. For example, the U.S. unemployment rate in December 2008 was 7.2 percent (seasonally adjusted), well above the 5.8 percent average for the year as a whole."

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