Wednesday, February 29, 2012

2011 Homeownership Rates by Age

The 2011 annual homeownership rates from the Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey are now available. Here are the numbers by age, along with the percentage point decline in the rate since 2004--the year the overall homeownership rate peaked.

Total: 66.1%  (-2.9)
Under 25: 22.6%  (-2.6)
25 to 29: 34.6%  (-5.6)
30 to 34: 49.8%  (-7.6)
35 to 39: 59.8%  (-6.4)
40 to 44: 66.9%  (-5.1)
45 to 54: 72.7%  (-4.5)
55 to 64: 78.5%  (-3.2)
65 or older: 80.9%  (-0.1)

Two things to note:
1. The annual homeownership rate of householders aged 30 to 34 fell below the 50 percent threshold for the first time in the data series extending back to 1982.
2. These homeownership rates are likely too high. The 2010 census recorded a lower overall homeownership rate than the 2010 Housing Vacancy Survey.

Financial Fraud a Worry as Boomers Age

The number of consumer complaints about financial fraud is soaring as the Internet allows scammers into people's homes, according to a new report by the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. In 2010, Americans filed more than 1 million financial fraud complaints with the FTC, up 25 percent in three years. An FTC survey taken in 2005 found that 30 million people--13.5 percent of the nation's adults--had been the victims of financial fraud in the past 12 months.

Things are only going to get worse, says Kimberly Blanton, the author of the report. That's because millions of boomers will experience cognitive declines as they age, turning them into a growing pool of sitting ducks. According to research, one in five individuals aged 71 to 79 shows cognitive impairment that can hinder the ability to detect fraud, a figure that rises to half among people in their 80s.

Source: Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, The Rise of Financial Fraud

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Remembrance of Winters Past

Now that one of the mildest winters on record is almost over, the time has come to wax nostalgic for those wild winters of our past. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has done the analysis, examining the Current Population Survey to identify the top weather-related work absences since 1977. These are the events--some named and some not--that resulted in the largest percentage of the labor force missing work, along with the percent who stayed home...

February 2010: Snowmageddon (4.8%)
January 1996: Blizzard of '96 (10.1%)
February 1994: Snow and ice storms (6.1%)
January 1982: Extreme cold spell (9.5%)
January 1978: Heavy snowfall (5.0%)
January 1977: Extreme cold spell (6.2%)

Outside of winter, the only other weather event that caused a noticeable spike in work absences was Hurricane Floyd in September 1999, when 2.7 percent missed work.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Issues in Labor Statistics, Work Absences Due to Bad Weather: Analysis of Data from 1977 to 2010

Volunteering: A Soccer Mom Thing

In 2011, more than one in four Americans (27 percent) volunteered their time for an organization. Who is most likely to volunteer? Soccer moms--people with the leisure time and flexible schedules that allow them to dote on their children by hanging out with them at school. Here are the characteristics of the people most likely to volunteer, along with the percent who volunteered...

Women: 30%
Married: 32%
Aged 35 to 44: 32%
With children under age 18: 34%
Non-Hispanic white: 28%
Employed part-time: 33%
Bachelor's degree or more: 42%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Volunteering in the United States--2011

Monday, February 27, 2012

Paradise Lost

The number of people moving to Nevada from other states has fallen sharply over the past five years. In 2005, nearly half a million (486,253) fortune-seekers from other states moved to Nevada. By 2010, that number had fallen to just 102,677. At the same time, the number of people who packed up and moved out of Nevada for other states grew from 103,482 to 109,409. Do the math, and you can see why 68 percent of existing home sales in Las Vegas are foreclosures, REOs, or short sales.

Source: Census Bureau, Geographic/Migration, State-to-State Migration Flows

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Negative Equity = Fewer State-to-State Movers

How big of an impact does negative housing equity have on geographic mobility across state lines? That is one of the questions asked in a new study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. After massaging data on housing equity and state-to-state mobility for the years 2006 to 2009, the researchers determined that negative equity reduced the number of individuals moving across state lines by an estimated 110,000-150,000 annually--a decline of 2 to 3 percent. In other words, negative equity has an impact--albeit a small one--on mobility across state lines.

Source: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, Are American Homeowners Locked into their Houses? The Impact of Housing Market Conditions on State-to-State Migration

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saving Too Much for Retirement?

This is heresy: a study published by the Urban Institute finds that if everyone followed the advice of financial planners, many would have saved too much for retirement.

"The traditional rule of thumb that one should aim to replace 80 percent of preretirement income is clearly misguided," says the Urban Institute's Austin Nichols. Instead, he says, "one should aim to save enough so that spending does not need to drop precipitously in retirement."

Rather than focus on an income target, Nichols suggests that workers should focus on a spending target when planning for retirement. "The constant savings rate required to equalize consumption across the preretirement and postretirement years generally is much lower than the 80 percent rule," he writes. To save enough to equalize spending in retirement, a married high earner who starts saving at age 45 and plans to retire at age 62 needs to save only 34 percent of income each year rather than the 59 percent that would be required to achieve 80 percent of preretirement gross income. "Americans are not necessarily saving too little for retirement," Austin concludes.

Source: Urban Institute, Do Financial Planners Advise Us to Save Too Much for Retirement?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Years to Diploma

It takes a long time to get through college and even longer to complete a graduate degree. This is the average number of years it took for current degree holders to earn their degree from the time they began their post-secondary education...

Vocational certificate: 1.9
Associate's degree: 4.6
Bachelor's degree: 5.6

For those who have a graduate degree, this is how long it took to earn the advanced degree after earning their bachelor's degree...

Master's degree: 7.2
Professional degree: 5.7
Doctoral degree: 9.3

Source: Census Bureau, What It's Worth: Field of Training and Economic Status in 2009

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Who Has a Tattoo?

One in five Americans aged 18 or older has a tattoo, according to a Harris poll. This figure is up substantially from the 14 percent with a tattoo in 2008. Not surprisingly, the young are more likely than the old to have a tattoo, with the percentage peaking among 30-to-39-year-olds. Here are the tattooed by age...

18-24: 22%
25-29: 30%
30-39: 38%
40-49: 27%
50-64: 11%
65-plus: 5%

Only 14 percent of people with a tattoo regret getting inked.
Source: Harris Interactive, One in Five U.S. Adults Now Has a Tattoo

Non-Hispanic Whites in Labor Force Will Decline

The civilian labor force is projected to increase by 10 million during the next decade, from 154 million in 2010 to 164 million in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But the number of non-Hispanic whites in the labor force will decline by a substantial 1,576,000 during the decade. The non-Hispanic white share of the labor force will fall from 68 to 62 percent. Non-Hispanic white men will account for only one in three workers in 2020. Here is what the labor force of 2020 will look like...

Asian: 6%
Black: 12%
Hispanic: 19%
Non-Hispanic white: 62%

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, Labor Force Projections to 2020: A More Slowly Growing Workforce

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Births Continue Downward Slide

Fewer than 4 million babies were born in the United States between June 2010 and June 2011, according to provisional statistics released by the National Center for Health Statistics. During those 12 months, only 3,978,000 babies were born. This was 2 percent below the number of births in the 12-month period ending in June 2010 and 8 percent below the all-time high of 4,316,233 in 2007.

The fertility rate also fell 2 percent, to 64.4 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44. The NCHS notes that the rate of decline appears to be slowing.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Recent Trends in Births and Fertility Rates through June 2011

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

College Degree Not Required

Of the 55 million job openings projected for the labor force during the next decade, percentage that typically will not require a bachelor's degree or more education: 80%.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections 2010 to 2020

Are Things Changing Too Fast?

Many Americans think so. Nearly half of adults agree that "science makes our way of life change too fast." Surprisingly, there are few differences in this attitude by generation...

Total: 49%
Millennials: 49%
Gen Xers: 48%
Boomers: 46%
65-plus: 56%

Source: 2010 General Social Survey

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Missing Demographics

"Don't Expect Consumer Spending to be the Engine of Economic Growth It Once Was." That is the title of an article published recently by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. The author, an economist, examines the importance of consumer spending to the economy and identifies five trends that will inhibit a consumer spending comeback:
  1. Lower wealth
  2. Stagnant incomes
  3. Tight credit
  4. Fragile confidence
  5. Looming reversal of stimulus
What's missing from the list? The demographic millstone that hangs around our necks. One of the primary reasons consumer spending played such a key role in our economy over the past several decades was the presence of the large baby-boom generation in the peak-spending age groups. Now boomers are aging out of the big spender years. Moving in is Generation X, a much smaller cohort and also the one most hurt by the Great Recession. This demographic shift alone guarantees that consumer spending will be sputtering for years to come.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Do Religious People Live Longer?

Some do and some don't, according to new research on the interaction between religious involvement and education. For the less-educated, religious involvement (measured by the frequency of attending religious services) lowers the risk of dying relative to their peers. "For people who have minimal educational attainment," say sociologists Benjamin E. Moulton and Darren E. Sherkat, "religious participation is a positive resource, providing regulation against unhealthy behaviors and integration into a supportive community."  

Things are not so rosy for the highly educated, however. Among people with four or more years of college, the greater their religious involvement the higher their risk of dying relative to their peers. How does this happen? The authors suggest that the hostility of many sectarian and fundamentalist religious groups toward science, coupled with their belief in magical healing and miracles may "hinder preventive health behaviors" and cause the educated to "delay seeking crucial health services." That's a delay that can lead to an untimely death.

Source: Benjamin E. Moulton and Darren E. Sherkat, Specifying the Effects of Religious Participation and Educational Attainment on Mortality Risk for U.S. Adults, Sociological Spectrum, 32: 1019, 2012

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Drinks Per Capita

Gallons of beverages consumed per person per year in the United States...

Milk: 21
Coffee: 23
Alcohol: 25

Source: USDA, Economic Research Service, Food Availability

Friday, February 17, 2012

Divided by News

Percentage who think the following sources provide fair and unbiased news occasionally or all the time, by political party...

Fox News
Democrats: 39%
Republicans: 75%

The New York Times
Democrats: 64%
Republicans: 33%

Source: Harris Interactive, Americans Have Broad Trust in Media in General

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mixed Race Future

More than one-third of Americans (35 percent) have an immediate family member or close relative who is married to someone of a different race. Younger generations are much more likely than older people to have mixed-race relatives. Here are the percentages by age group...

Under age 50: 41%
Aged 50-plus: 26%

Source:  Pew Research Center, The Rise of Intermarriage

Video Games vs. Books

The average American household spends more in a year on video games ($51) than books ($46), according to the 2010 Consumer Expenditure Survey.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

More Financial Aid = Higher College Tuition

Does college tuition rise with increases in federal student aid? The answer is yes--at least at for-profit schools, according to a new study from the National Bureau of Economic Research.

The NBER researchers compare tuition at two types of for-profit schools: schools eligible to participate in federal student aid programs and schools that are not eligible. They discover that tuition at schools eligible for aid is 75 percent higher than tuition at comparable schools that do not participate in federal student aid programs. Their conclusion: "The dollar value of the premium is about equal to the amount of financial aid received by students in eligible institutions, lending credence to the 'Bennett hypothesis' that aid-eligible institutions raise tuition to maximize aid."

Source: National Bureau of Economic Research, Does Federal Student Aid Raise Tuition? New Evidence on For-Profit College, NBER Working Paper 17827 ($5)

Will Young Adults Vote in 2012?

Check out my article in The New RepublicThe Surprising Trends that Suggest Young People Won't Vote in 2012.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Plan on Spending Less, and Less

Household spending falls at a constant rate with increasing age, according to a new study by the Employee Benefit Research Institute (Expenditure Patterns of Older Americans, 2001-2009). Compared to how much householders aged 65 spend, those aged 75 spend 19 percent less, those aged 85 spend 34 percent less, and those aged 95 spend 52 percent less. "Future retirement income adequacy studies should explicitly take account of this declining expenditure pattern," says EBRI.

Divorce Peak in 50-59 Age Group

Percentage of ever-married women who have ever divorced, by age...
25-29: 14%
30-34: 21%
35-39: 27%
40-49: 36%
50-59: 41%
60-69: 37%
70-plus: 22%

Source: Census Bureau, Number, Timing, and Duration of Marriages and Divorces: 2009

Monday, February 13, 2012

Supply-Side Sociology

We all know how well supply-side economics worked out. The Supply Siders told us that reducing barriers for producers--taxes and government regulation--would result in economic prosperity. What we got was the housing bubble, the Great Recession, a jobless recovery, massive deficits, a growing gap between rich and poor, and the disappearance of the middle class.

As if that wasn't enough, the Supply Siders are now complaining about the burgeoning lower class (see, for example, Charles Murray's new book Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010). According to Murray, people in the lower class don't spend enough time working, are unwilling to marry, and neglect their kids.

Supply Siders listen up! Maybe you applied your theory to the wrong field. It didn't work in economics, but it might just work in sociology. Supply-side sociology can solve the problem of the growing lower class. Here's the way it works: reduce the barriers to the middle class and watch the lower class shrink as stable jobs that pay a living wage transform their lives. Just think, marriage might make sense if lower class men had steady paychecks. Children might not fall behind if struggling parents were not expected to assume the duties of the public education system. College admissions would be more egalitarian if getting into college no longer depended on the leisure time and flexible schedules of the middle class as it runs the extracurricular marathon. Lower class men and women would uncover hidden talents if a college degree were no longer a requirement for most jobs. And while we're knocking down these barriers, let's remove two other onerous requirements for middle class life: owning a car and finding a job with health insurance.

Supply Siders unite! The time has come to tear down these walls:
  • Eliminate the college diploma as the gatekeeper to jobs that do not require specialized skills.
  • Remove parents from the equation for academic success, including homework helper, project manager, and tutor.
  • Ban extracurricular activities as a factor in college admissions, neutralizing the powerful influence of soccer moms on college acceptance.
  • Mandate access to efficient public transportation, freeing workers from the need to own (and maintain) a car to get to and from a job. 
  • Guarantee universal health insurance, providing the lower class with access to basic health care and sheltering them from ruinous medical bills.
By removing these barriers to middle class life, the lower class will supply the middle class with eager workers, confident parents, and stable families. Civic culture will be restored. The Supply Siders can then bask in the knowledge that, at last, their theory worked--in sociology.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Who Has Time for This?

Do you meet the federal guidelines for recommended physical activity? Here they are:
Adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic activity or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week. For additional health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes a week of moderate intensity or 150 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on two or more days a week. 
Only 22 percent of men and 16 percent of women meet the guidelines. 

Question: Since life expectancy is at an all-time high--despite the fact that most Americans are overweight and not getting enough exercise--what is the point of setting the bar so high?

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Five Jobs

Between the ages of 18 and 24, the average young adult has had 5.4 jobs.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, America's Young Adults at 24: School Enrollment, Training, and Employment Transitions between Ages 23 and 24

Friday, February 10, 2012

Older Doing Better

A growing share of older Americans say their personal financial situation is good or excellent, according to a Pew survey. Among people aged 18 to 64, the percentage who feel positive about their finances has plunged.

Percent saying personal financial situation is good or excellent, 2004 and 2011...

2011 2004
18-34 33 50
35-64 35 52
65-plus 54 50

Source: Pew Research Center, Young, Underemployed and Optimistic

Thursday, February 09, 2012

In Touch by Texting

Percentage of online Americans who would prefer to stay connected with family members through texting, by selected age group...

Aged 13 to 25: 63%
Aged 39 to 58: 40%
Aged 59 to 75: 19%

Source: AARP, Connecting Generations, February 2012

Gifted at Gaming the System

Percentage of children aged 12 to 17 in gifted classes by educational attainment of parent...

Not a high school graduate: 14%
High school graduate only: 20%
Some college, no degree: 27%
Associate's degree: 27%
Bachelor's degree: 39%
Graduate degree: 40%

Source: Census Bureau, A Child's Day: 2009

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Middle Age Stress

Strange things are happening to the nation's mental health. Typically, young adults are the most stressed out. Their life is in turmoil as they go to school, look for a job, find a marriage partner, and move from place to place. Now people aged 45 to 54 are the most distressed, thanks to growing economic uncertainty (starting well before the Great Recession).

In 2010, a substantial 12.2 percent of 45-to-54-year-olds reported experiencing 14 or more mentally unhealthy days in the past month. That's one in eight (!) people in the age group who feel like they are losing it as often as not. That figure is up from 10.6 percent in 2000 and 8.9 percent in 1993 (the earliest data available).

Other age groups are in trouble too. In fact, more than 11 percent of people ranging in age from 18 to 64 are in mental anguish at least half the time. Among people aged 65 or older, frequent mental distress afflicts only 6.3 to 7.4 percent.

Source: CDC, Health-Related Quality of Life, BRFSS Trend Data

The 99 Percent

No, not that one. This one: 99 percent of sexually experienced women aged 15 to 44 are birth control users. Here are the percentages who have ever used the following birth control methods...

Condom: 93%
Pill: 82%
Withdrawal: 59%
3-month injectable: 22%
Female sterilization: 20%
Periodic abstinence: 19%
Male sterilization: 13%
Contraceptive patch: 10%
Emergency contraception: 10%
IUD: 7%
Diaphragm: 3%

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Use of Contraception in the United States: 1982-2008

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

New Single-Family Home Prices

$225,800: That is the median sales price of new single-family homes sold in 2011. This figure was 16 percent below the 2007 peak of $268,900, after adjusting for inflation. Here is a look at 2011 median prices by region, along with the inflation-adjusted percent change from the year prices peaked...

Northeast: $322,600, down 16% from 2006 peak of $386,100
Midwest: $201,000, down 20% from 2005 peak of $249,800
South: $210,300, down 11% from 2007 peak of $236,200
West: $255,400, down 32% from 2006 peak of $376,800

Nationally, the number of new single-family homes sold in 2011 fell to an all-time low of 302,000 (with data going back to 1963). The 2011 sales figures were at all-time lows in the Northeast and West, and they tied the all-time lows in the Midwest (tied with 2010) and South (tied with 1966).

Source: Census Bureau, New Residential Sales Historical Data

What Freshmen Think

The American Freshman survey is one of the greatest resources available to marketers whose target is young adults. Every year since 1966, UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute has surveyed thousands of freshmen at hundreds of colleges to determine what they think, what they have done, and what they plan to do next. The 2011 survey, released in January, is based on the responses of 203,967 freshmen at 270 institutions that grant a bachelor's degree. Here are some interesting facts about freshmen from the latest report...

55% percent are within 100 miles from home.
53% applied to five or more colleges.
76% were accepted by their first-choice school.
58% are attending their first-choice school.
53% are using loans to pay for some of their expenses.
33% have no concerns about their ability to pay for college.
70% frequently socialized with someone of another racial/ethnic group in the past year.
38% think they are above average in their computer skills.
71% think same-sex couples should have the right to marry.
86% are going to college to get a better job.

Source: UCLA, Higher Education Research Institute, The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011

Monday, February 06, 2012

Big Plans

76% of college freshmen plan to get a master's degree or more education.

Source: UCLA, Higher Education Research Institute, The American Freshman: National Norms Fall 2011

The Super Bowl Fantasy

After an evening of Super Bowl ads, you might think the United States is a nation of proud factory workers. Not so much. Only 10 percent of the 139 million employed work in the manufacturing industry.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Getting to Work

Seventy-six percent of workers in the United States drive to work alone in a car, truck, or van. Another 10 percent carpool. Only 5 percent take public transportation, 3 percent walk, and fewer than 1 percent bicycle. In some areas, however, these less common means of commuting are much more popular. Here are the metropolitan areas where workers are most likely to commute to work by...

Riding public transportation: New York, NY-NJ-PA (31%)
Bicycling: Corvallis, OR (9.3%)
Walking: Ithaca, NY (15.1%).

Source: Census Bureau, Commuting in the United States: 2009

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Voting by Income

Voting rates don't just rise with income, they rise in lockstep with income. Overall, 59.7 percent of citizens aged 18 or older voted in the 2008 presidential election. Here are the 2008 voting rates by family income...

Under $30,000: 54.0%
$30,000-$49,999: 63.3%
$50,000-$74,999: 70.9%
$75,000-$99,999: 76.4%
$100,000-$149,999: 78.4%
$150,000 or more: 81.6%

Burrowing even deeper into the data, the lowest voting rate is among 18-to-24-year-olds with family incomes below $30,000 (41.5 percent). The highest voting rate is among 65-to-74-year-olds with incomes of $100,000 or more (85.8 percent). Voting rates aren't everything, however. Numbers count. Despite the difference in voting rates, young low-income voters edged out old high-income voters at the polls, 1.7 million to 1.3 million.

Source: Census Bureau, Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2008

Friday, February 03, 2012

Unemployed and (Mostly) Uninsured

Ever wonder how many of the unemployed still have health insurance? The answer: less than half. Only 48 percent of unemployed 18-to-64-year-olds are covered by health insurance.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Health and Access to Care among Employed and Unemployed Adults: United States, 2009-2010

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Construction Job Gains--and Losses

Some of the fastest growing jobs during the next decade will be in construction, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' new projections. The number of jobs in the construction and extraction occupational group will grow by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020--much faster than the 14 percent growth forecast for the labor force as a whole. Among the jobs projected to grow the fastest are carpentry helpers, brickmasons, iron and rebar workers, and glaziers.

But there's a catch. The projected growth will not make up for the jobs lost during the Great Recession. The 7.7 million construction and extraction jobs forecast for 2020 will be 559,000 less than the 8.3 million of 2006. The good news is that they will be 1.4 million more than in 2010.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, January 2012, Employment Outlook 2010-2020

Help Wanted

The occupation projected to grow the fastest between 2010 and 2020 is...insert drum roll here...personal care aide, with a median annual wage of $19,640. No high school diploma required.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, January 2012, Employment Outlook 2010-2020

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Labor Force Projections to 2020

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has released new labor force and employment projections, a task it undertakes every two years. Not surprisingly, BLS analysts see rising labor force participation rates among older Americans as boomers work well past the age at which their fathers retired. The labor force participation rate of men in their mid-to-late 60s is headed for a particularly sharp increase:

Percent of men aged 62 to 64 in the labor force
2020: 63.4%
2010: 54.6
2000: 47.0

Percent of men aged 65 to 69 in the labor force
2020: 41.4%
2010: 36.5
2000: 30.3

Women in their 60s also will be more likely to work. The labor force participation rate of women aged 62 to 64 is projected to rise from 45.3 to 54.1 percent between 2010 and 2020. The rate among women aged 65 to 69 should rise from 27.0 to 34.5 percent.

Despite rising labor force participation rates among aging boomers, the BLS projects that the great majority (62 percent) of job openings in the next decade will come from replacement needs as workers retire rather than economic growth.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Monthly Labor Review, January 2012, Employment Outlook 2010-2020

Real (U-6) Unemployment by State, 2011

There's the official unemployment rate (called U-3, which includes only people willing and able to work and who have looked for a job in the past 4 weeks) and there's the real unemployment rate (called U-6). The U-6 unemployment rate includes the officially unemployed, plus discouraged workers (people who have given up looking for a job), plus marginally attached workers (those who looked for a job in the past year but not in the past 4 weeks), plus people employed part-time because they can't find full-time work.

In 2011, the official (U-3) unemployment rate was 8.9 percent. The real (U-6) unemployment rate was a much higher 15.9 percent. Here are the five states with the highest real unemployment rates in 2011...

Nevada: 22.7
California: 21.1
Michigan: 18.8
Rhode Island: 18.6
South Carolina: 18.2

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States, 2011 Annual Averages