Unemployment Trends in the US: Semi-Employment

The unemployment situation in the US is officially around 9 percent nationally. That's bad enough, but a hidden unemployment statistic is believed to be adding another few percent. Part-time work, and greatly reduced hours, is effectively creating a class of people who are actually unemployed for the greater part of the working week, but still classed as employed.

The semi-employed statistics change the picture of the job markets, and not for the better. It's creating more problems for US job seekers, who are trying to find not only jobs, but whole industries where full-time jobs are available.

Unemployment by regions

Where you are in the US is a definite indicator of your job prospects. The entire US labor market is now considering the few options it has, and some of those options include moving and serious dislocation.


  • The West Coast: With the exception of Washington it is currently severely depressed, with up to 20 percent unemployment, including the semi-employed statistics.
  • The Rockies: States are marginally better, although Nevada is in much the same situation as the West Coast.
  • Central US states: From the Dakotas south to Texas, states are in much better condition. Top unemployment rates in these states are about 12 percent.
  • The Midwest: Contains the worst affected areas. The lowest rate of unemployment under the semi-employed criteria is 17 percent in Kentucky.
  • The South: Doing generally better, with the exception being South Carolina. Unemployment is in the mid teens in percentage terms.
  • The East Coast: Doing a bit better than national averages, but not much, with unemployment in the lower mid teens.
  • Alaska and Hawaii: Alaska is doing relatively well, with a 12 percent rate, but Hawaii is at 15 percent.

Some states are definitely not the place to be. In severely hit states like Michigan, unemployment, including the hidden semi-employed market, is believed to be around 22 percent. Even California is only marginally better than Michigan. The world's fifth largest economy has taken a double hit from the crash in the US and global markets. It'll be awhile before unemployment goes down to pre crash levels, and that's not good for California's job seekers, who form a large part of the national job seeking market.

Getting a job by geography

Of the states, Washington, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia have the lowest levels of unemployment. The best bet for general job seekers would be Washington, Texas, and Maryland, statistically. These are larger state economies, with bigger capital bases, and in Maryland's case the job market is fed by big surrounding states.

The huge job markets in New York, New Jersey, and California can't really improve until capital gets into their local markets. That's going to take awhile, and meanwhile competition for jobs will remain tough. US job seekers are advised to take a long hard look at local, regional and national job markets to save time and find viable job markets in their line of work.