Nevada’s precarious labor rate among nation’s highest

U3 U6 wtf
Reinhard Dietrich [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons

U3 U6 wtf
Reinhard Dietrich [CC0], from Wikimedia Commons
Earlier this month the state reported that unemployment in Nevada, though still above the national rate of 3.7 percent, had dipped a tenth of a point to 4.4 percent in October.

But that’s the headline “U3” rate. The “U6” rate — defined as “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons” — in Nevada is 9.4 percent. As RGC Economics notes in its most recent Jobs Flash, Nevada has the 4th highest U6 rate in the nation.

The 5 point gap between the U3 and the U6 rates in Nevada is also among the highest in the nation. The gap in the U.S. was 3.7 percent in October. The Bureau of Labor Statistics labor tracks “labor underutilization” by states each quarter, in a rolling year-long average. In the most recent measures, from the fourth quarter of 2017 through the third quarter of this year, the difference between U3 and U6 was 3.8 percent nationally, and 4.8 percent in Nevada, giving Nevada the second highest gap after Alaska’s 5.1 percent difference.

Hugh Jackson
Editor | Hugh Jackson has been writing about Nevada policy and politics for more than 20 years. He was editor of the Las Vegas Business Press, senior editor at the Las Vegas CityLife weekly newspaper, daily political commentator on the Las Vegas NBC affiliate, and wrote the then-groundbreaking Las Vegas Gleaner, which among other things was the only independent political blog from Nevada that was credentialed at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. He spent a few years as a senior energy and environmental policy analyst for Public Citizen, and has occasionally worked as a consultant on mining, taxation, education and other issues for Nevada labor and public interest organizations. His freelance work has been published in outlets ranging from the Guardian to Desert Companion to In These Times to the Oil & Gas Journal. For several years he also taught U.S. History courses at UNLV. Prior to moving to Las Vegas, he was a reporter and then assistant managing editor at the Casper Star-Tribune, Wyoming’s largest newspaper.

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