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: 10.6%
> June unemployment rate: 5.0% (tied — 6th highest)
> Average wage: $65,875 (3rd highest)
> Labor force growth: 0.1% (12th smallest increase)
Connecticut is currently struggling with several major problems that are stymieing overall economic growth in the state. The state is deep in debt, has a substantially underfunded pension system, and has suffered from population loss — especially of working adults — for a number of years. Connecticut’s GDP grew just 1% in 2016, below the 1.5% national growth rate. The biggest drag on GDP growth was the state’s government sector, which has implemented several rounds of layoffs and spending cuts in recent years.
Sluggish GDP growth has coincided with high labor underutilization in the state. Some 10.6% of Connecticut’s labor force is currently unemployed or underemployed, a slight improvement from the 10.7% share one year ago.
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.