The U.S. unemployment rate is currently 4.4%, nearly its lowest point in a decade. While the unemployment rate reflects the millions of Americans who are out of work and actively seeking employment, the measure does not fully capture the degree to which Americans are unable to find the jobs they want.
In addition to those seven million Americans captured by the traditional unemployment rate, there are millions more who are working part-time jobs because they could not find full-time employment, as well a large share of workers who have recently given up on their job search altogether and are now marginally attached to the workforce.
> Underemployment rate: 10.3%
> June unemployment rate: 4.7% (tied — 11th highest)
> Average wage: $56,453 (8th highest)
> Labor force growth: 0.5% (20th smallest increase)
Illinois is one of many Midwestern states where sluggish post-economic growth is hurting labor utilization and preventing the job market to return to its pre-recessionary status. Some 10.3% of the Illinois workforce is currently unemployed or underemployed, a slight improvement from the 11.0% share one year ago yet far higher than the pre-recessionary levels of 8.1% in 2006 and 7.8% in 2007. The state’s GDP rose just 0.9% in 2016, slightly more than half the 1.5% national rate. While the wholesale trade sector contributed to GDP growth nationwide, the sector detracted from economic growth in Illinois. An estimated 5.0% of workers in Illinois are employed in wholesale trade, the fourth largest share of any state.
The underemployment rate — a combination of unemployed job seekers, discouraged and other marginally attached workers, and people settling for part-time jobs as a share of the labor force — is a more comprehensive measure of labor underutilization, and this measure varies considerably across the country.
To determine the easiest and hardest states to find full-time work, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed underemployment rates in all 50 states with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The underemployment rate ranges from below 7% in some states to over 11% in others.