U-6 rate 5.0 percent in South Dakota, 13.1 percent in Nevada

August 29, 2016

BLS publishes six alternative measures of labor underutilization for the United States and each state. The broadest of these measures, the U-6 rate, averaged 9.9 percent for the United States during the year ending in June 2016. Among the states, the lowest rates were in South Dakota (5.0 percent) and North Dakota (5.7 percent). The highest U-6 rate was in Nevada (13.1 percent). U-6 rates were 11.0 percent or higher in Illinois, Oregon, Connecticut, Mississippi, Arizona, West Virginia, California, Alaska, and New Mexico.

Alternative measures of labor underutilization by state, third quarter 2015 through second quarter 2016 (percent)
State U-1 U-2 U-3 U-4 U-5 U-6

United States

2.1 2.4 5.0 5.4 6.1 9.9

South Dakota

0.8 0.8 2.8 2.9 3.4 5.0

North Dakota

0.8 1.8 3.0 3.2 3.6 5.7

Nebraska

1.2 1.5 3.3 3.4 4.1 6.2

Iowa

1.1 2.1 3.9 4.0 4.6 7.0

New Hampshire

1.1 1.6 2.9 3.1 3.7 7.2

Colorado

1.4 1.6 3.4 3.5 4.0 7.3

Minnesota

1.0 2.0 3.7 3.9 4.5 7.8

Utah

1.4 1.7 3.8 4.1 4.5 7.8

Kansas

1.4 2.0 4.0 4.1 4.8 7.8

Vermont

0.9 1.7 3.5 3.8 4.6 8.1

Wisconsin

1.6 2.3 4.3 4.5 5.0 8.2

Missouri

1.5 2.4 4.4 4.7 5.2 8.2

Idaho

1.1 2.2 4.1 4.3 4.9 8.3

Arkansas

1.6 2.0 4.3 4.6 5.2 8.4

Maryland

2.1 2.2 4.6 5.0 5.6 8.4

Texas

1.6 2.1 4.5 4.8 5.3 8.5

Oklahoma

1.8 2.4 4.6 4.9 5.6 8.5

Hawaii

1.3 1.4 3.3 3.7 4.6 8.7

Indiana

1.7 2.3 4.7 4.9 5.6 8.7

Montana

1.5 2.3 4.3 4.6 5.1 8.8

Delaware

2.2 2.5 4.7 5.0 5.4 8.8

Maine

1.5 1.9 3.8 4.1 4.8 9.0

Virginia

1.6 1.7 3.9 4.3 5.1 9.3

Massachusetts

2.0 2.6 4.5 4.9 5.6 9.4

Ohio

1.9 1.9 4.8 5.1 6.0 9.5

New Jersey

2.5 2.9 5.1 5.5 6.0 9.6

Wyoming

1.6 3.3 5.2 5.4 5.8 9.6

New York

2.2 2.2 4.8 5.4 6.2 9.8

Tennessee

1.8 2.4 4.9 5.2 6.0 9.8

Kentucky

2.1 2.5 5.4 5.7 6.4 10.0

District of Columbia

3.9 2.5 6.4 6.8 7.6 10.0

North Carolina

2.5 2.3 5.4 5.8 6.5 10.2

Rhode Island

2.6 3.2 5.4 5.7 6.5 10.3

Alabama

2.7 2.5 6.1 6.6 7.2 10.3

Pennsylvania

2.1 2.8 5.2 5.5 6.4 10.5

Florida

2.5 2.4 5.0 5.5 6.2 10.6

South Carolina

2.5 2.5 5.4 5.9 6.6 10.6

Louisiana

2.5 3.1 6.1 6.6 7.4 10.6

Washington

2.0 2.6 5.7 6.1 6.8 10.7

Michigan

2.1 2.7 4.9 5.3 6.2 10.8

Georgia

2.7 2.5 5.6 6.0 7.1 10.9

Illinois

3.0 3.1 6.0 6.4 7.1 11.0

Oregon

1.6 2.7 5.3 5.6 6.3 11.1

Connecticut

2.8 3.3 5.7 6.0 7.0 11.1

Mississippi

2.5 2.9 6.2 6.5 7.3 11.2

Arizona

1.8 2.6 5.7 6.1 7.1 11.3

West Virginia

2.7 3.2 6.4 6.8 7.7 11.4

California

2.4 2.7 5.6 6.0 6.8 11.7

Alaska

2.1 3.7 6.4 7.0 8.3 11.9

New Mexico

2.6 3.1 6.4 7.0 7.9 12.4

Nevada

2.7 3.5 6.7 7.1 7.9 13.1

The U-3 measure—sometimes called the official unemployment rate—averaged 5.0 percent for the United States during the year ending in June 2016. The U-3 rate was lowest in the Dakotas and New Hampshire (2.8 percent to 3.0 percent) and highest in Nevada (6.7 percent) and Alaska, the District of Columbia, New Mexico, and West Virginia (all 6.4 percent).

The narrowest measure is U-1, which averaged 2.1 percent for the United States during the year ending in June 2016. The U-1 rate was lowest in North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Minnesota (averaging 1.0 percent or lower). It was highest in the District of Columbia (3.9 percent) and Illinois (3.0 percent).

The U-1 rate includes only people who have been unemployed 15 weeks or longer. (People who are unemployed do not have jobs, have actively looked for work in the 4 weeks prior to the monthly survey, and are available to work if offered a job.) The U-3 rate includes all unemployed people regardless of how long they have been unemployed.

The U-6 rate includes people counted as unemployed, plus people who are marginally attached to the labor force, and people who work part time for economic reasons. The marginally attached are neither working nor looking for work but say they want work and are available to work and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months. People who work part time for economic reasons would prefer full-time employment but are working part time because their hours had been cut or because they are unable to find full-time work.

These data are from the Local Area Unemployment Statistics program. See Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States, Third Quarter of 2015 through Second Quarter of 2016 Averages for more information. National U-1 through U-6 measures are published each month with the Employment Situation news release.

Alternative measures of labor underutilization, U-1 through U-6, definitions
Characteristic Measure
U-1 U-2 U-3(1) U-4 U-5 U-6
Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer  
Unemployed job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs  
Total unemployed(2)    
Discouraged workers(3)      
Persons marginally attached to the labor force(4)        
Persons employed part time for economic reasons(5)          

Footnotes:

(1) U-3 is also known as the official unemployment rate.

(2) People are classified as unemployed if they meet all of the following criteria: they had no employment during the reference week; they were available for work at that time; and they made specific efforts to find employment sometime during the 4-week period ending with the reference week. Persons laid off from a job and expecting recall need not be looking for work to be counted as unemployed.

(3) Discouraged workers (a subset of the marginally attached) have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work.

(4) Persons marginally attached to the labor force are those who currently are neither working nor looking for work but indicate that they want and are available for a job and have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months.

(5) Persons employed part time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for a part-time schedule.

The U-1, U-2, and U-3 measures are percentages of the civilian labor force (which is the sum of employment plus unemployment). U-4 is the percentage of the labor force plus discouraged workers. U-5 and U-6 are percentages of the labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, U-6 rate 5.0 percent in South Dakota, 13.1 percent in Nevada on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/u-6-rate-5-point-0-percent-in-south-dakota-13-point-1-percent-in-nevada.htm (visited July 16, 2019).

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