Data & Research
* ELMI Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for Vermont *
Alternative Unemployment Rates for Vermont
Six alternative unemployment rates for Vermont (aka "alternative measures of labor underutilization") are now available.  To meet BLS publication standards, state rates are based on a moving four-quarter average.  For more information, see alternative measures of labor underutilization by state at BLS.

Alternative measures of labor underutilization have long been available on a monthly basis from the Current Population Survey (CPS) for the United States as a whole. They are published in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' monthly Employment Situation news release (see table A-15). The official measure of unemployment (referred to as U-3 in the U-1 to U-6 range of alternative measures) includes all jobless persons who are available to take a job and have actively sought work in the past four weeks. This measure has been thoroughly reviewed and validated since the inception of the CPS in 1940. The other measures are provided to data users and analysts who want more narrowly (U-1 and U-2) or broadly (U-4 through U-6) defined measures.

Due to small state sample sizes, monthly state CPS data do not meet BLS publication standards, and moving average estimates of alternative measures for states had not been tabulated until recently. These data were developed from quarterly tabulations in which the components of each measure are rounded to the nearest hundred. As a result, the newly tabulated estimates contain slightly more rounding error than that found in typical CPS annual average tabulations (in which rates are based on unrounded data).

The six alternative unemployment measures are based on the same definitions as those published for the U.S.:

  • U-1, persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force;
  • U-2, job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force;
  • U-3, total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (this is the definition used for the official unemployment rate);
  • U-4, total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers;
  • U-5, total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers; and
  • U-6, total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.

    Each measure is a successively more liberal interpretation of labor underutilization. U-1 measures only those out of work for 15 weeks or longer as a percent of Vermont labor force. U-6 Includes all unemployed plus discouraged workers, workers who are not actively looking for work, but would take a job if offered and those who are working part-time, but would prefer to work full-time and cannot.

    Generally, all six measures move together over time, including across business cycles. Similarly, states that have high official unemployment rates tend to have high values for the other five measures; the reverse is true for states with low unemployment rates. Note that, in the tables the unemployment rates (U-3) that are shown are derived directly from the CPS. As a result, these U-3 measures may differ from the official Vermont unemployment rates for the latest 4-quarter average period. The latter are estimates developed from models used by the Local Area Unemployment Statistics (LAUS) program that incorporate CPS estimates, as well as input data from other sources; these model-based estimates are accessible in our web site’s official unemployment tables. State of Vermont Department of Labor