Polling,  Unemployment Rate

Poll Watch: U.S. Unemployment Rate Unchanged in July – 8.8%

According to the latest Gallup Poll.

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is at 8.8% at the end of July, showing essentially no change from June 2011 (8.7%) or July a year ago (8.9%).

Underemployment Shows Modest Improvement

Underemployment, a measure that combines the percentage of unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, is at 18.0% at the end of July. This improvement from 18.3% at the end of last month and 18.4% at the end of July 2010 is largely the result of the July decline in the number of part-time workers wanting full-time work.

The chart:

I find it interesting that Chicago Mayor and former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel this morning is attacking Mitt Romney for his jobs record in Massachusetts while he was governor. With this jobs record, President Obama could not be re-elected to any office. Voters simply don’t care what Romney did or did not do years ago, but want to know what Obama is doing NOW.

The Gallup Poll unemployment rate is measured differently than the government’s which will be released tomorrow. Stay tuned for that number.

The lack of improvement in year-over-year U.S. unemployment is consistent with the revised GDP results showing anemic economic growth at best during the first half of 2011. The U.S. economy simply has not been growing fast enough to create the number of new jobs necessary to significantly reduce the unemployment rate.

However, there are some bright spots in the jobs arena. Gallup finds unemployment improved among those aged 50 to 64 and among college graduates when compared with a year ago. Similarly, the unemployment situation in the East, West, and Midwest shows modest improvement over last year, while that in the South has deteriorated.

In the more immediate term, the decrease in the number of people working part-time but looking for full-time work suggests employers may be putting more part-time employees in full-time jobs, at least for the back-to-school sales period. This good news is by comparison not only to last month, but also to last year.

Overall, Gallup’s most recent modeling of the jobs situation, including unemployment and job creation, suggests that the government on Friday is likely to report no change in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in July from June. While this modeling is based on the government’s mid-month reference week, Gallup’s data show that the weak jobs trend continued even during the last half of the month. If the government report picks up some of these late-month results, the official U.S. unemployment rate could actually increase, depending on how the government applies its seasonal adjustments.