The share of Rhode Island workers who are unemployed or too discouraged to look is falling – at a snail’s place.
Rhode Island’s “underemployment” rate averaged 18.7% in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, down from 18.8% as of June 30 and 19% as of March 31, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
The underemployment rate averaged 8.8% between 2003 and 2007. It soared to a high of 19.4% in March 2010, then fell by less than a percentage point in the year and a half that followed:
The underemployment rate – officially called “U-6,” for its data classification name – counts not only those unemployed workers who are still looking for a job, as the official rate does, but also those who are only working part-time because they cannot find a full-time job.
For comparison’s sake, Rhode Island’s official unemployment rate averaged 10.9% in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, nearly eight points below the underemployment rate.
The U-6 measure is not released monthly, as the standard unemployment rate is, but rather as a 12-month moving average each quarter. (It was only done annually before 2009, which is why the chart above looks the way it does.)
• Related: RI jobless rate rises to 10.8%, but economist questions data (Jan. 20)