Polling,  Unemployment Rate

Gallup: U.S. Unemployment Decreases Slightly to 8.2%

According to the latest Gallup unemployment poll.

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, declined slightly to 8.2% in mid-May from 8.3% in April. Gallup’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.5% in mid-May, down slightly from 8.6% last month.

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted over the 30 days of April 16 to May 15, including interviews with 30,236 U.S. adults, 67.5% of whom are active in the workforce. Gallup’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate incorporates the adjustment used by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in the same month of the previous year.

On an unadjusted basis, the mid-May unemployment rate, if sustained the rest of the month, would represent a new monthly low in unemployment since Gallup began tracking it daily in January 2010, down from the previous low of 8.3% recorded last month and from 9.2% last May.

Incorporating the upward seasonal adjustment of 0.3 percentage points that the BLS applied last May yields a seasonally adjusted rate for mid-May of 8.5%. This is substantially higher than the seasonally adjusted monthly low of 7.9% for Gallup’s U.S. unemployment rate in January of this year, but significantly lower than the 9.5% in May 2011.

Nothing earth shattering here with the unemployment rate.

A big drop is what the Democrats and President Obama’s re-election campaign wants, but I do not think this will happen anytime soon.

Underemployment is also down slightly.

Gallup’s U.S. underemployment measure, which combines the unemployed with those working part time but looking for full-time work, is 18.0% in mid-May, compared with 18.2% in April. The underemployment rate declined to as low as 18.0% last July but changed direction in August. It increased to 19.1% in February before plunging to 18.0% in March and 18.2% last month.

So, what this mean?

There is slow American economic growth and American businesses may be holding back because of either the upcoming election or the Supreme Court’s ruling on ObamaCare.

Also, in a warning sign for the government, unemployment numbers may have improved a little, simply due to the fact that long term unemployed people have stopped looking for work.

Moreover, there is also considerable variance of Gallup’s unemployment numbers and those released by the Obama Administration. Go figure.

Gallup’s unemployment measurements now and in April stand in sharp contrast to those the government provided. The BLS reported an April unadjusted unemployment rate of 7.7% and an adjusted unemployment rate of 8.1%. These findings were generally seen as inconsistent with the state of the economy and the findings of the BLS payroll survey. There were not enough jobs created last month — even after the size of the workforce declined — to lower the unemployment rate as much as the government reported.

It is possible that the government’s unemployment numbers for May could revert back to the Gallup trend, as occurred in March and during much of late 2011. Still, there was a considerable gap between Gallup’s results and those of the government in February and April. Regardless, Gallup’s preliminary unemployment numbers for May, based on continuous daily measurement, show a slight improvement compared with April.