Oregon’s high misery rate

A calculation on Oregon’s underutilized workers puts it at 23.8 percent – the nation’s worst.

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The usual unemployment numbers may not be accurate in providing the state’s true suffering rate: New calculations put Oregon as the worst in the nation for underutilized workers.

If you really want to know how much people are suffering, economist Andrew Sum says, check out Oregon’s labor underutilization rate. That number combines the unemployed with two other categories of workers who don’t make it into the official unemployment rate – underemployed workers who want full-time work but can only find part-time jobs, and unemployed people who say they want work but have given up looking.

Combining those two categories with the state’s official unemployment rate brings Oregon’s rate up to 23.8 percent for the first six months of 2009, and over 24 percent for the past three months. That’s the worst in the nation, according to the center’s data, and it means nearly one in every four work-ready Oregonians is struggling to get by, an unprecedented number in post-depression America.

Read the full story at the Portland Tribune.

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