The unemployment rate speaks to labor market conditions including the availability of labor and the level of economic distress. But the unemployed are not the only potential pool of new hires and not the only ones experiencing economic distress.
The official definition of “unemployed” includes only those people who are jobless and have actively looked for work in the past month. “Marginally attached workers” are jobless, want to work, but have given up looking for work because they believe there are no jobs currently available for them. Then there are the workers who want to work full time but currently are working part time (less than 35 hours a week) because they are unable to find full-time jobs.
Recognizing these other forms of labor market distress, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has developed six alternative measures of labor underutilization. Find the BLS measures and descriptions at https://www.bls.gov/lau/stalt.htm.