SNAP and U-6 Participation

SNAP is an important lifeline for many people struggling with unemployment and underemployment. This FRAC chart compares data regarding the average share of a state’s population receiving SNAP with the share of its workforce experiencing unemployment or underemployment (the latter measure reported by the U.S. Department of Labor as category U-6).

Background on labor market measures

  • U-6 includes: “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.”
  • Marginally attached workers are those: “not in the labor force who want and are available for work, and who have looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. Discouraged workers are a subset of the marginally attached.”
  • Discouraged workers are those: “not in the labor force who want and are available for a job and who have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but who are not currently looking because they believe there are no jobs available or there are none for which they would qualify.”

Additional information: Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization for States; a glossary for survey definitions; and additional SNAP participation data.