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share save 120 16 Poll Watch: U.S. Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.1 Per Cent
Gallup Unemployment Rate1 Poll Watch: U.S. Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.1 Per Cent

According to the latest Gallup Poll.

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.1% in February from 8.6% in January and 8.5% in December.

The 0.5-percentage-point increase in February compared with January is the largest such month-to-month change Gallup has recorded in its not-seasonally adjusted measure since December 2010, when the rate rose 0.8 points to 9.6% from 8.8% in November. A year ago, Gallup recorded a February increase of 0.4 percentage points, to 10.3% from 9.9% in January 2011.

And, the Underemployment Rate has increased:

Gallup’s U.S. underemployment measure, which combines the percentage of workers who are unemployed and the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, increased to 19.1% in February from 18.7% in January.

Here is the chart:

Gallup Underemployment Rate Poll Watch: U.S. Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.1 Per Cent

Remember the pundit-accepted unemployment rate threshold required for re-election of the current President of 8%.

The one exception was when Ronald Reagan was President and the economy was demonstrably improving.

Today, the US. Unemployment rate continues above 8 per cent and it not improving = warning signs to the White House.

All of this in advance of tomorrow’s U.S. government’s release of its unemployment rate numbers. Let’s see if they show the same trend, as some have surmised that the Obama Administration Labor Department is massaging the numbers.

The February unemployment rate the U.S. government reports on Friday morning will be based largely on mid-month conditions. In mid-February, Gallup reported that its U.S. unemployment rate had increased to 9.0% from 8.3% in mid-January. The mid-month reading normally provides a relatively good estimate of the government’s unadjusted unemployment rate for the month.

Assuming the government’s unadjusted rate increases — from its 8.8% in January — to at least match Gallup’s mid-month measurement for February, then the government should also report an increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February. If the government’s unadjusted unemployment rate increases to the degree that Gallup’s has from mid-month to mid-month, then the government’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate could show an even larger increase.

However, the extent of the seasonal adjustment also makes a difference. Last February, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics applied a seasonal adjustment factor of 0.5 points to its unadjusted unemployment rate for the month. If that same seasonal adjustment is applied to Gallup’s mid-month unemployment rate of 9.0%, it would produce a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 8.5%. Alternatively, if it was applied to Gallup’s full-month unemployment rate of 9.1%, it would produce a seasonally adjusted rate of 8.6%. Gallup therefore forecasts an increase in the unemployment rate.

Regardless of what the government reports, Gallup’s unemployment and underemployment measures show a substantial deterioration since mid-January. In this context, the increase in unemployment as measured by Gallup may, at least partly, reflect growth in the workforce, as more Americans who had given up looking for work become slightly more optimistic and start looking for work again. So while there may be positive signs, the reality Gallup finds is that more Americans are looking for work now than were doing so just six weeks ago.

share save 120 16 Poll Watch: U.S. Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.1 Per Cent
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