Idaho's unemployment levels have held around nine percent over the past two years, but new statistics show the number of those underemployed skyrocketed during the recession.
When the state of Idaho is broken into six economic regions, eastern Idaho ranks second in the highest underemployed.
Anyone who is working part time who wants to work full time, or who is a highly skilled worker working a low-paying job is considered underemployed.
In eastern Idaho nearly one in five workers falls into this category.
More than 18 percent of eastern Idahoans were underemployed in 2010.
Both Madison and Fremont counties saw some of the highest rates in the state.
Department of Labor regional economist Will Jenson said with two universities, eastern Idaho has a well-educated population but not the jobs to support all the graduates.
"By that alone I think you would see more of our workers are underemployed, especially if they are zip-code attached, where they want to stay here than to get paid more for their education elsewhere,? Jenson said.
Compared to the national average, Idaho has a lower cost of living but Jenson said it doesn't help much.
?The decrease in cost of living does not compensate for the decrease in average wage," Jenson said.
But Rexburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Donna Benfield says many locals don't mind.
"Our quality of life and our standard of living is so great that people make a conscious decision,? Benfield said. ?They want to live here knowing full well they could make more money in the big city. They settle for less because in reality it's the quality of life they want.?
Rexburg's Economic Development Director Scott Johnson says the city just needs to get the word out as well as build the infrastructure to bring in the jobs.
"We've talked about natural gas, we've talked about fiber optics, a number of things, infrastructure can stop companies from coming in especially high tech companies," Johnson said.
The Department of Labor suggested underemployment would continue to increase for another year or two while the economy finally stabilizes and begins to expand.
The department also estimates nearly one in ten underemployed people works full time but is seeking a job more aligned with their education.
If you are seeking employment the Department of Labor is hosting a job fair on Dec 7 at the Eastern Idaho Public Heath Office at 1250 Hollipark from 11 am to 3 pm.