Highest U.S. Underemployment Rates: Illinois, California and Michigan


U.S. unemployment rates have been slipping, hitting a two-year low last month, the U.S. Labor Department said Friday. But what about the rate of underemployment, or the number of workers employed part time who are seeking full-time work?

According to a Gallup poll published Friday, the national underemployment average was 19% in 2010. Illinois, California and Michigan had the highest percentages of underemployed workers in the country last year, leading a group of nine states that had an underemployment rate of between 21% and 25%. The other states included Hawaii, North Carolina, Oregon, Florida, Mississippi and Nevada.

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Meanwhile, North Dakota and Wyoming boasted the lowest underemployment in the country last year, with rates between 9% and 12%, according to the Gallup survey of more than 210,000 U.S. adults. And Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and New Hampshire had the next best job markets last year, with underemployment rates of between 12% and 15%.

Gallup defines underemployment as the percentage of adults who are working less than 30 hours a week, but who want to be fully employed.

The report is consistent with another Gallup report on job markets published earlier this week, which found that North Dakota was the best place to find a job last year, followed by South Dakota, Alaska and Washington D.C. Arkansas, West Virginia, Maryland and Texas also ranked high on Gallup's so-called Job Creation Index.