Analyzes Massachusetts’ labor market problems in 2012 to 2013 with comparisons to data from the last decade.

“A serious understanding of the labor market problems of Massachusetts and U.S. residents requires going well beyond the official unemployment statistics to include problems of underemployment, malemployment, and other measures of labor underutilization. It also requires going well beyond the average number and incidence of such problems to include a careful examination of the distribution of such labor market problems among educational attainment and household income groups in the state. This paper [analyzes labor force data obtained from the Current Population Survey and] is devoted to such a more rigorous analysis of the size and incidence of alternative labor market problems among Massachusetts workers in 2012-13, with comparisons dating back to 2000. [The authors] show that combined labor underutilization problems among state workers have increased by a substantial degree over the past 12-13 years and that the distribution of such labor market problems has become far more unequal across key socioeconomic groups of workers, as represented by their educational attainment and household income group. These widening socioeconomic disparities in labor market problems have contributed in an important way to the growth of earnings and income inequality in [the] state over the past decade” (p.2).

“The main objectives of this research report are to provide estimates of four labor underutilization measures (the unemployment rate, the underemployment rate, the hidden unemployment rate, and the labor underutilization rate) for Massachusetts workers and for those in educational attainment groups, household income groups, and combinations of educational attainment/household income groups... Disparities in the incidence of each of the four labor market problems across these educational attainment/household income groups [are] presented and highlighted. The sizes of these disparities in labor market outcomes across socioeconomic groups are enormous today and appear to be historically unprecedented, far higher than those prevailing in the 1990s and especially at the peak of the state labor market boom in 2000” (p. 6).

Full publication title: The Labor Market Problems of Massachusetts’ Workers in the Recovery from the Great Recession: The Great Socioeconomic Divergence