'Underemployment' Tops 20 Percent in 3 States

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union that "one in 10 Americans still cannot find work." But in nine states the figure is closer to one in five.

The official unemployment rate of 10 percent doesn't include people who are working part-time but would prefer full-time work, or the unemployed who have given up looking for work.

When those groups are included, the devastation in many parts of the country is clear: Michigan's so-called "underemployment" rate was 21.5 percent in 2009, the highest in the nation. California's was 21.1 percent, while Oregon's was 20.7 percent.

Nationwide, the underemployment rate was 17.3 percent in December, just below the 17.4 percent reached in October, the highest on records dating from 1994.

In South Carolina, Nevada, and Rhode Island the underemployment rate is above 19 percent. And in Arizona, Florida and Tennessee it's above 18 percent.

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