One-sixth of Washingtonians Were Underemployed in 2009
On average, 16.2 percent of Washington’s workforce were underemployed in 2009, according to a Budget & Policy Center analysis of data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is a dramatic increase from 8.8 percent two years earlier.
The underemployment rate provides a broader perspective on labor force weakness than the unemployment rate, a more commonly reported labor force statistic. The unemployment rate includes only those workers who are actively looking for, but unable to find, work. Along with the unemployed, the underemployment rate also captures workers that are marginally attached to the labor force (such as those who have given up looking for work because they are discouraged) and workers who are working part-time for economic reasons, such as being unable to find fulltime work.
The graph below shows both the unemployment and the underemployment rate in Washington from 2007 to 2009. The graph shows that both indicators rose dramatically during this period as a result of the national recession. It also shows that the gap between the two measures has widened.
Tomorrow’s post will examine underemployment among communities of color in Washington.