April 14, 2014 | Number of The Day
Underemployment rate in New Jersey tells larger story

Underemployment — the combination of the rate of unemployed, workers who are part time due to economic reasons, and those who are marginally attached to the labor force — is 14.7 percent in New Jersey.

The good news is that this rate is down a full point over 2012, when it was 15.7 percent. The bad news is that the rate was 13.8 percent for the country as a whole.

New Jersey has made great strides in its unemployment rate in the past year, since it is now only 8.2 percent (although still higher than the national average of 7.4 percent). The unemployment rate is defined as all those who are able to work and have been looking for it in the past four weeks.

But it’s clear that the unemployment rate doesn’t tell the whole story. There are more than 225,000 people in New Jersey working part time for economic reasons – also known as involuntary part-time workers.

Historically, New Jersey has had higher labor utilization than the rest of the country. It wasn’t until 2010 that New Jersey became a state with higher labor underemployment than the rest of the nation.