North Carolina's jobless rate remains near all-time high levels using the federal government's broadest measure of unemployment.
The state's jobless rate was 17.5 percent in the first quarter, according to the U6 index issued Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The U6 index includes people who are not counted in the more commonly used jobless measure: people who are forced to take part-time jobs because they can't find full-time work, and those who become so discouraged they stop looking for work.
The U6 index was first tracked in 2005 and remains relatively unknown, but some say it is a more accurate measure of the nation's economic situation than conventional jobless statistics, which showed a statewide jobless rate of 9.7 percent in March.
The U6 tends to be about 75 percent higher than the standard jobless index, known as the U3. The BLS calculates the U6 every quarter as an average over the previous 12 months, so the update issued Friday covers one year through March 31.
In raw numbers, the U6 measure counts 483,400 unemployed people in North Carolina along with 66,800 people who have stopped looking and 263,900 who are stuck in part-time jobs, for a total of 814,100. The standard U3 measure counts pegs the number of unemployed at 483,400.
North Carolina's U6 measure was among the highest in the nation for the first quarter. The highest was Nevada at 23.7 percent, followed by California at 22 percent.