Gallup: Unemployment is Declining

October 18th, 2011
in econ_news

work-food-hug Econintersect: The Gallup polling organization finds that unemployment has reached a new post-recession low at the middle of October, according to their own survey process. Their unemployment rate is now at 8.3%, down sharply from 9.2% in the middle of August and from 10.3% in March. The Gallup data does not see any seasonal adjustment, compared to the other major employment data reports from ADP and the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics).

Follow up:

Other data reported by Gallup includes the percentage of part-time workers who want full-time positions. That stands at 9.2% in October, exactly in the middle of the range since the beginning of 2010 (8.4% to 10.0%). The Gallup underemployment rate is 17.5%, slightly above the post-recession low of 17.2% last December.

From the Gallup report:

Of course, the precipitous and counterintuitive nature of this sharp improvement in the U.S. job market, as measured by Gallup over the past couple of weeks, means it could be something of an aberration that will dissipate during the weeks ahead. It might even have been missed if not for Gallup's Daily tracking. But for now, this job market improvement appears real -- and, in turn, that implies the Main Street economy may be somewhat stronger than Wall Street generally perceives.


Gallup suggests that the October employment report from the BLS could come in under 9% based of the data reported here.

The following graph shows both the Gallup data and that from the BLS:


The Gallup data is much noisier than the BLS, which is not surprising since the BLS seasonal adjustment process smooths the data. However, the correlation of the changes in the two series is near zero. Part of the poor correlation can be attributed to the seasonal noise in the Gallup data, but the fact that it is so close to zero correlation makes a projection of the BLS unemployment rate from the Gallup data very problematic.

Note: Another GEI News brief discusses the Gallup data and the hidden unemployed not counted in the Gallup or official unemployment rates

Sources: Gallup and BLS

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