The state's jobless rate remains exceptionally high according to an obscure federal government measure of unemployment that takes into account those who are under-employed and those who got discouraged and stopped looking.
Using this measure, known as the U6 index, North Carolina's jobless rate was 17.6 percent in the first quarter of the year. That's nearly twice as high as the statewide jobless rate of 9.7 percent reported in March under the widely used jobless measure that's commonly publicized.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the broader jobless measure this morning. The U6 is relatively new, not compiled until 2005, and it's issued every quarter, as opposed to every month.
Because the U6 index is a broader measure of unemployment some consider it to be the more accurate measure of economic health. The U6 is generally 75 percent higher than the standard measure that's much better known.
To put it another way, using the U6 measure adds swells North Carolina's unemployment rolls by more than a quarter million people.
Thus in March, there were 451,657 people counted as unemployed in this state using the conventional measure, known as the U3. But under the U6 measure, the number comes out as 819,000 people.
At its highest, North Carolina's jobless rate was 17.9 percent, as measured by the U6 during 2011.
Still, that's not the worst in the nation. That dubious honor that goes to Nevada, which posted a U6 jobless rate of 22.3 percent in the first quarter.
California came in second with 20.8 percent, with Rhode Island not far behind at 19 percent.
North Dakota's U6 rate is the nation's lowest. At 6.3 percent, it's lower than the Triangle's conventional jobless rate of 7.7 percent in March.