'Real' Unemployment Rate Shows Far More Jobless

While the national unemployment rate paints a grim picture, a look at individual states and their so-called real jobless rates becomes even more troubling.

The government's most widely publicized unemployment rate measures only those who are out of a job and currently looking for work. It does not count discouraged potential employees who have quit looking, nor those who are underemployed — wanting to work full-time but forced to work part-time.

For that count, the government releases a separate number called the "U-6," which provides a more complete tally of how many people really are out of work.

The numbers in some cases are startling.

Consider: Nevada's U-6 rate is 22.1 percent, up from just 7.6 percent in 2007. Economically troubled California has a 20.3 percent real rate, while Rhode Island is at 18.3 percent, more than double its 8.3 percent rate in 2007.

Those numbers compare especially unfavorably to the national rate, high in itself at 14.9 percent though off its record peak of 17.2 percent in October 2009.

Only three states — Nebraska (9.1 percent), South Dakota (8.6 percent) and North Dakota (6.1 percent) — have U-6 rates under 10 percent, according to research from RBC Capital Markets.

Election battleground states paint a picture not much more flattering. Florida's U-6 number is an ugly 17 percent, though Pennsylvania and Ohio are both around 14 percent, below the national U-6 average.

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