Daily News

Report Outlines Underemployment Measures in Massachusetts

BOSTON — The New England Information Office of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has released “Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization in Massachusetts 2014,” with data supplied by the Current Population Survey (CPS) program, a monthly survey of households conducted by the Bureau of Census for the BLS.

The comprehensive body of data includes labor force, employment, unemployment, persons not in the labor force, hours of work, earnings, and other demographic and labor-force characteristics. Among the highlights from the release:

• In 2014, the broadest measure of labor underutilization, designated U-6 (which includes the unemployed, workers employed part-time for economic reasons, and those marginally attached to the labor force), was 11.5% in Massachusetts, down from 13.2% in 2013. Nationally, the U-6 rate averaged 12.0% in 2014.

• As measured by U-3 (the official concept of unemployment, which includes all jobless persons who are available to take a job and have actively sought work in the past four weeks), the unemployment rate in Massachusetts was 5.8%. By comparison, 6.2% of the labor force was unemployed nationally.

• Massachusetts had 204,800 unemployed residents in 2014 according to the CPS, and another 164,300 were employed part-time for economic reasons (also known as involuntary part-time). These individuals worked part-time because of slack work or business conditions, or because they were unable to find a full-time job. Nationwide, there were 7.2 million individuals working part-time for economic reasons in 2014.

• Discouraged workers, included among the marginally attached, are persons who are not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. In 2014, there were 13,500 discouraged workers in Massachusetts (accounting for nearly 29% of the marginally attached in the state).

• In 2014, Massachusetts was among the 23 states where all six measures of underutilization significantly decreased over the year.

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