Federal labor statistics show 9.2 percent of New Jersey's workforce is designated "underutilized" — either unemployed or underemployed.

Economist Bruce Bergman of the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the federal numbers show more than 418,000 New Jersey workers are considered underutilized.

"It does reflect the potential labor pool, a more utilized labor pool," he said. It includes nearly 165,000 who work part-time because they cannot secure full-time employment.

The underutilized number was statistically flat from 2016, but it also includes almost 207,000 unemployed residents. Among them are those considered long-term unemployed — those people who are jobless for 27 weeks or longer.

"What is happening to the labor force in New Jersey, if you look at the charts, you see that the labor force in New Jersey actually looks like it is declining, at least the labor force participation rate is declining," Bergman said.

Bergman described the New Jersey labor force as, "tight."

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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