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: 6.9%
> June unemployment rate: 2.3% (tied –the lowest)
> Average wage: $54,669 (10th highest)
> Labor force growth: 2.0% (10th largest increase)
Colorado’s unemployment rate is tied with North Dakota’s as the lowest in the country. Just 2.3% of the state’s labor force are looking for work but are unable to find it. When including other groups, such as those who have given up looking for work and those who have been forced into part-time jobs because they could not find full-time work, the state’s underemployment rate climbs to 6.9%. Still, the state’s underemployment rate is lower than the vast majority of states, as well as the 9.5% underemployment rate nationwide. Those with college degrees are more likely to find full-time employment, and Colorado’s adult college attainment rate of 39.2% is second highest among states.
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.