41,600 Maine people with jobs are part-time workers who want more work but can’t find it, according to data released today by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. The share of employed Mainers who are working part-time because of poor economic conditions is 6.5%, 6th highest in the nation. Maine’s decline since 2009 in the number of these “involuntary part-time workers” has been very slow.
As a result, Maine’s comprehensive rate of unemployment—a.k.a the “U6”—remains significantly above the pre-recession rate of 8.5%. The U6 rate of unemployment, which accounts for involuntary part-time workers as well as unemployed workers who recently stopped looking for work and left the labor force, is currently 13.7% in Maine and 13.8% in the United States as a whole. Maine’s labor market recovery according to this measure is only 25% complete and ranks 38th among states.
The data released today is called “alternative measures of labor underutilization for states.” It is published on a quarterly basis and provides these statistics as a rolling four-quarter average. Today’s data set covers the four-quarter period ending in December, 2013. In other words, it’s the annual average for 2013.
As I wrote in an e-blast earlier this week, falling unemployment rates in Maine and rest of the nation are good news, but Maine is far from a full recovery from the recession and workers across the state remain in crisis. Wages are flat or falling and poverty is on the rise. As today’s data show, part-time work has replaced full-time work for tens of thousands of Maine workers still struggling in the wake of the recession.