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Good jobs rate exceeds 50% in five U.S. states

Staff Writer |
South Dakota, Maryland, Nebraska, North Dakota and Minnesota - had Gallup Good Jobs (GGJ) rates above 50% in 2016.

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West Virginia, at 36.6%, had the lowest rate for the third consecutive year.

Gallup's GGJ metric tracks the percentage of the U.S. adult population aged 18 and older who are employed full time for an employer for at least 30 hours per week.

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews throughout 2016 with nearly 355,000 U.S. adults. Gallup does not count adults who are self-employed, work fewer than 30 hours per week, are unemployed or are out of the workforce as payroll-employed in the GGJ metric.

The differences in GGJ rates across states may reflect several factors, including the overall employment situation and the population's demographic composition.

States with large older and retired populations, for example, would have a lower percentage of adults working full time. Several of the states with the lowest GGJ rates in 2016 - West Virginia, Florida and Maine - have the largest proportions of residents aged 65 or older. Regardless of the underlying reason, however, the GGJ rate provides an indication of a state's economic vitality.

A cluster of states in the northern Plains and Rocky Mountains regions made the top 10 on this measure. The two states bordering the nation's capital, Maryland and Virginia, also had higher rates of full-time employment for an employer.

Gallup's U.S. underemployment rate is the percentage of adults in the workforce who are not employed but are looking and available for employment or who are working part time but desire full-time work.

While GGJ reflects the proportion of adults working full time for an employer relative to the entire population, Gallup reports the underemployment rate as a proportion of adults in the workforce - all those working or seeking work.

Minnesota had the lowest underemployment rate, at 8.9%, with South Dakota close behind, at 9.2%. New Mexico had the highest underemployment rate, at 17.5%, up from 15.5% measured in 2015.

New York, California and Mississippi all had underemployment rates of 16% or more in 2016.

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