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Texas Labor Underutilization Figures Released

The Labor Department has just released its latest state-by-state figures for labor underutilization. That measure, broader than the traditional yardstick of unemployment, makes grim reading for Texas. Andrew Schneider has more.

The official unemployment rate includes only those people who are actively looking for work. For Texas, that averaged 8% over the course of 2010 — uncomfortably high, but better than most states. But that’s only part of the story.

Cheryl Abbot is a regional economist for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in Dallas.

“If we add in a number of different other types of workers — like discouraged workers or people employed part time, on an involuntary basis — the unemployment rate jumps up to 14.4%, and that is the highest on record since this particular series began back in 2003.”

The series, short-handed as U-6, is the BLS’ broadest measure of joblessness.

Texas ranks nineteenth out of the fifty states plus the District of Columbia on the U-6 list. North Dakota has the best showing at over seven percent. Worst off is Nevada at nearly 24 percent.

underutilization graph

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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