Broader measure of NC jobless rate now down to 13.6%

The broadest measure of North Carolina’s unemployment is down to 13.6 percent, a continual decline since peaking at 17.9 percent three years ago.

The measure, known as the U6 index, includes the under-employed and those who have given up looking for work. Because it captures a broader representation of the unemployed, some consider it the most complete snapshot of the state’s job market.

The U6 is issued every quarter by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s usually about 75 percent higher than the conventional jobless measure, the U3 rate, which doesn’t include the under-employed and discouraged job seekers. That measure, which is a running 12-month average, was 7.2 percent in the first quarter.

In terms of raw numbers, the U3 jobless rate shows 335,000 North Carolinians unemployed in the first quarter, whereas the U6 rate shows 644,200 unemployed in the state.

The state’s monthly jobless rate, the commonly circulated jobless figure, was 6.3 percent in March.

Staff writer John Murawski