Government data suggest most states still struggling with high unemployment

Unemployment continues to lie at the heart of America's economic problems. As we've pointed out previously on this blog, a consumer-based economy cannot function correctly if a sizeable portion of the nation does not have the income to support the necessary level of discretionary spending.

But just how bad is the joblessness problem in America? For the information we need to get to the bottom of this question, the most reliable source is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). While some critics deride this agency for smoothing over the numbers, the reality is that the numbers are freely available. The problem is that most politicians and pundits focus on the "official" unemployment level, which only includes those who have been off the payroll in excess of 15 weeks as a percentage of the total workforce in the U.S. Currently, this stands at 7.9 percent. 

There are five additional measurements that the BLS compiles, most notably the U-6. This category includes those who are both underemployed or "marginally attached," which, in simple terms, means that they do not even qualify as being a part-time worker.

Once you start looking at the U-6 figure, the unemployment picture in the U.S. starts to look increasingly negative. According to the BLS, 14.6 percent of Americans are either out of work or are not making enough to maintain a certain standard of living. As bad as this may seem, state-by-state numbers are much higher.

Forty-four states have U-6 rates above 10 percent. Nevada, California and Oregon are in the worst position, with unemployment/underemployment figures of 19.6 percent, 18.8 percent and 17.2 percent, respectively. 

These hard numbers reflect the poor state of the U.S. economy. As an investor, it's important that you look into methods of wealth preservation to ensure that your hard-earned savings are secure if these conditions worsen and markets begin to deteriorate. To learn more, download a "Free Game Plan Report" today.