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: 10.0%
> June unemployment rate: 3.8% (tied –20th lowest)
> Average wage: $50,944 (18th highest)
> Labor force growth: 1.7% (13th largest increase)
Some 10.0% of Michigan’s labor force are underemployed, down from 11.2% one year ago. The decrease in labor underutilization is due to drops in both the unemployment rate and the share of marginally attached workers. The state’s job market has largely recovered from the recession, and its underemployment rate is far lower than its pre-recessionary level of 12.2% in 2006.
The improvement is likely due to Michigan’s above average economic growth in recent years. The state’s GDP rose 1.8% in 2016, faster than the 1.5% national rate. Like the country as a whole, growth in Michigan was led by the education and health services, professional and business services, and leisure and hospitality sectors.
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.