OMB Watch carries:
Notes from the Economy: Underemployment
While the monthly number is an important component in summarizing the state of economy, but it’s an incomplete indicator. For example, at the state level in August, 20 states had unemployment rates greater than the national average of 6.1 percent, while 31 states had unemployment rates below the national average. Yet, the trend is unmistakable: compared a a year ago, 48 states have seen their unemployment rate increase with 34 percent increasing more than one percentage point.
The Economic Policy Institute reminds us that there are more dimensions to employment than the unemployment rate. In a slowing economy, millions of workers are forced to take lower-paying or part-time jobs, squeezing family budgets. This aspect of the jobs market rarely makes headlines, but it results in real hardships for millions of families.
At 11%, the underemployment rate in September was at its highest in more than 14 years. The underemployed currently includes about 9.5 million unemployed workers, 6.1 million involuntarily part-time workers, and 1.6 million workers only marginally attached to the workforce.1 The fact that one out of every nine U.S. workers is now either unemployed or underemployed is clear evidence of the need for a second stimulus package targeted at job creation.