Friday, June 10, 2011

State of Working Colorado: Underutilization rate – A more complete measure

While unemployment is the best-known measure of joblessness, it has some shortcomings. Most notably, unemployment does not include two groups of underutilized workers. Specifically, unemployment does not count "marginally attached workers" — those who want work but have not looked. Nor does it count people working part time involuntarily — those who are working part time but would prefer full time. Counting those groups along with the unemployed gives more complete picture of joblessness. The measure that captures all these populations is called the labor underutilization rate.

In 2009, Colorado’s underutilization rate was nearly twice as high as its unemployment rate. That suggests the jobs climate in Colorado is substantially worse than the unemployment rate would indicate. While 2010 underutilization data are not available, since the Colorado unemployment rate in December 2010 was 8.8 percent compared to 7.4 percent the year before, it is likely the underutilization rate in 2010 was proportionately higher as well.
For more insights, including detailed policy recommendations for enhancing economic security for all Coloradans, check out the State of Working Colorado 2010.

1 comment:

Helen Bushnell said...

When I studied the economics of the European Union twenty years ago, comparisons of economic statistics would mainly ook at "marginally attached workers". The only people that were counted as unemployed in every country were people who had been out of work for two years.

Spain counted all part-time workers as unemployed.