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Latinos and African Americans have the highest under-employment rates in California

California Under-employment Rate Reaches 17.1 Percent; 3.4 Million People

Three out of ten workers with less than a high school education are under-employed

Los AngelesCalif. (August 21, 2009) – A jump in job losses from the recession caused under-employment rates in July of 17.8  percent in Los Angeles County and 17.1 percent in California, according to data released today by the Economic Roundtable.

Under-employed workers include unemployed workers who are actively looking for a job and also workers who have been involuntarily reduced to part-time employment, discouraged workers who have given up on looking for a job, and conditionally interested workers who would look for a job if they were able, for example if child care or transportation were available.  This data includes the total labor force rather than just employed workers and active job seekers shown in official unemployment statistics.

Under-employment figures by the Economic Roundtable breakout the labor force data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, using detailed records from the Current Population Survey that are the source data for BLS unemployment statistics.  BLS statistics show the July unemployment rate to have increased to 12.1 percent in California and 12.5 percent in Los Angeles County.

Under-employment in Los Angeles County increased from 15.8 percent in June to 17.8 percent in July.  In California, under-employment increased from 16.2 percent in June to 17.1 percent in July.

Young workers, those under 25 years of age, have the highest under-employment rates: 33.8 percent of young workers in Los Angeles County and 30.4 percent inCalifornia are under-employed.

Under-employment rates are up to a quarter higher for men than for women.  In Los Angeles County, the under-employment rate for men is 18.9 percent versus 16.5 percent for women.  In California, it is 19 percent for men versus 14.8 percent for women.

Workers without a high school diploma have under-employment rates that are more than 60 percent higher than the overall rate, while workers with degrees from a four-year college have almost half the rate of under-employment.  In Los Angeles County, the under-employment rate is 28.5 percent for workers without a high school diploma and 9.5 percent for workers with a college degree.  In California, it is 31 percent for workers without a high school diploma and 9.1 percent for workers with a college degree.

Breaking out workers by race and ethnicity, Latinos and African Americans have the highest under-employment rates.  In Los Angeles County, under-employment rates are 24.2 percent for African Americans, 22.8 percent for Latinos, 11.7 percent for Whites, and 11.3 percent for Asians.  In California, the rates are 23.3 percent for Latinos, 20.1 percent for African Americans, 13.5 percent for Asians, and 12.6 percent for Whites.

Monthly labor force data is attached and can be downloaded from

Economic Roundtable

The Economic Roundtable is a non-profit, public benefit research organization formed in 1991 to provide practical knowledge about how communities can become more sustainable.  

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