Poll Watch: U.S. Unemployment Rate is 10% in March – Down From February – But So What?

Posted Posted in American Economy, Polling, Unemployment Rate

America’s unemployment rate was down in March 2011 and down from March 2010 as measured by Gallup.
Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was 10.0% in March — down from 10.2% in mid-March and 10.3% at the end of February, but above the 9.8% at the end of January. U.S. unemployment was 10.4% at the end of March a year ago.

What about the percentage of part-time workers?

And, underemployment also declined in March.

But, what does this mean? Is America’s economy improving?

Not according to Gallup.

ADP on Wednesday reported that U.S. private-sector jobs increased by 201,000 in March — the third consecutive month at this level of job growth. At the same time, Challenger, Gray & Christmas showed a sharp decline in March U.S. layoffs compared with last year. All of this is consistent with Gallup’s Job Creation Index, which has shown slightly more jobs being created and comparatively low layoffs during the first quarter of 2011.

However, contrary to the federal government’s recent job reports, Gallup’s unemployment and underemployment measures suggest that recent job increases have not been sufficient to significantly improve the jobs situation so far in 2011. Although both of Gallup’s measures were marginally better in March, they remain higher now than they were in January.

The March improvement in the jobs situation compared with February may be partly the result of seasonal hiring patterns, with companies increasing their hiring at this time of year. However, the 2010 jobs situation didn’t show substantial improvement until the second half of April. Regardless, the decline in the underemployment rate year-over-year is consistent with a cautious hiring approach in which employers avoid layoffs while taking on more part-time workers and limiting their hiring of full-time employees.

Despite the March uptick, Gallup’s view of the U.S. jobs situation remains substantially less optimistic than the government’s recent unemployment report might suggest. Added to this, late March Gallup Daily tracking results show a continuing decline in economic optimism, a pullback in consumer spending, and a drop in Gallup’s Job Creation Index. This suggests that recent behavior on Main Street does not reflect the government’s rosier assessment. It also implies that the recent marginal improvement Gallup finds may be more temporary than one might hope.

Looks like the Obama Administration is spinning the numbers to creat some economic optimism but too many Americans remain out of work and economic activity remains stagnant at best.

Poll Watch: Underemployment 21% or Higher In Nine States Including California

Posted Posted in American Economy, Unemployment Rate

View underemployment data for every state

Despite the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report today, Gallup raises another issue that may loom as more important – UNDEREMPLOYMENT.
Underemployed Americans are generally those who are not working to their desired capacity. Gallup considers respondents to be “underemployed” if they are either 1) unemployed or 2) employed part time (under 30 hours per week) and wish to be employed full time. The definition of unemployment used as a component of underemployment closely follows the government’s definition; respondents are “unemployed” if they don’t have a job, and are actively looking for work and are available to begin work. Gallup reports underemployment by state in the following ranges: 9.0%-11.9%, 12.0%-14.9%, 15.0%-17.9%, 18.0%-20.9%, and 21.0%-24.9%.

The nine states with underemployment rates of 21% or higher were relatively spread out across the country and include the nation’s largest state, California, as well as Michigan and Nevada, which have been hit by downturns in the automotive and gambling industries, respectively. Twenty-two states cluster in the underemployment range of 18% to 20.9%, relatively close to the 18.9% national average.

Here are the charts:

So, what does this mean?

Although the national unemployment rates are marginally decreasing, there is a large population of Americans that are not working enough. This is a measure of the real impact of the job situation and will have political implications – particularly in key battleground states as the campaigns for 2012 begin. Note the states of North Carolina, Nevada, Florida and Michigan are on the highest underemployment list.

Underemployment is a measure of the real impact of the job situation in the U.S., taking into account as it does workers who are out of and explicitly looking for work, as well as those who may be working part time but would like to work full time. The extent of underemployment in the U.S. varies widely by state, from relatively low levels in the energy states of North Dakota and Wyoming to quite high levels in a number of states, including the nation’s largest, California.

U.S. Employment Rate Drops to 8.9%, 192,000 Jobs Added – Spinning the Numbers?

Posted 3 CommentsPosted in American Economy, Unemployment Rate
6xgjxgzyxeym7aup4ygxg24 Poll Watch: U.S. Unemployment Increases to 10.3% in February   Jobs Situation Worsens

My read on the economy is not as optimistic as the unemployment numbers which came out of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics today. I mean, look at Gallup’s numbers that I posted just the other day above.
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 192,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services, health care, and transportation and warehousing.

The number of unemployed persons (13.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.9 percent) changed little in February. The labor force was about unchanged over the month. The jobless rate was down by 0.9 percentage point since November 2010. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.7 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (23.9 percent), whites (8.0 percent), blacks (15.3 percent), and Hispanics (11.6 percent) showed little or no change in February. The jobless rate for Asians was 6.8 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, at 8.3 million, continued to trend down in February and has fallen by 1.2 million over the past 12 months. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was 6.0 million and accounted for 43.9 percent of the unemployed. (See tables A-11 and A-12.)

Both the civilian labor force participation rate, at 64.2 percent, and the employ- ment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, were unchanged in February. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 8.3 million in February. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In February, 2.7 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, up from 2.5 million a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.0 million discouraged workers in February, a decrease of 184,000 from a year earlier. (These data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.7 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in February had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

Any improvement is good but the numbers, while the MSM spins them to support the Obama administration and the GOP spinners take credit for their policy changes in the Congress, are still dire.

The number of unemployed people dipped to 13.7 million, still nearly double the number before the recession began in December 2007.

This report while encouraging should be read with a grain of salt.

To cut that in half at this rate (or just to take off 6.5 million), assuming 100K each month to keep up with population growth, we would need 71 months to get unemployment back to its pre-recession level.  And we would need that on a consistent basis, not 36K one month and 192K the next.

Poll Watch: U.S. Unemployment Increases to 10.3% in February – Jobs Situation Worsens

Posted Posted in American Economy, Polling, Unemployment Rate

According to the latest poll numbers from Gallup.
Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, hit 10.3% in February — up from 9.8% at the end of January. The U.S. unemployment rate is now essentially the same as the 10.4% at the end of February 2010.

And, the percentage of part-time workers who desire full-time work has surged.

And, underemployment surged in February:

All in all, a pretty dire picture of the American economy which will have political effects as Republican challengers to President Obama begin to gear up for the Presidential race in 2012.
There is essentially no difference between the unemployment rate now and the one at this time a year ago; January’s rate, in contrast, showed a 1.1-percentage-point year-over-year improvement. This suggests that the real U.S. jobs situation worsened in February. That is, jobs are relatively less available now than in January.

In the broader underemployment picture, the situation is much the same. January’s year-over-year improvement of 1.0 points became -0.2 points in February. In turn, this suggests job market conditions in terms of underemployment also worsened during February.

This deterioration in the jobs situation combined with surging gas prices, budget battles at the federal and state level, and declines on Wall Street tend to explain the recent plunge Gallup recorded in consumer confidence. They also align with the continued “new normal” spending patterns of early 2011. Although Gallup’s Job Creation Index has improved over the past year and showed modest improvement in February, the improvement has not been significant enough to positively affect underemployment and unemployment.

Poll Watch: The Best and Worst Job Markets in 2010 – Nevada and California some of the Worst

Posted Posted in Polling, President 2012, Unemployment Rate

I am not surprised especially with regard to Nevada and California being poor job markets, according to the latest Gallup Poll.
More than half of the 10 best job markets in 2010 were in energy- and commodity-producing states. Most of the 10 states with the worst job markets consisted of finance states of the Northeast and the housing-depressed states of the West.

Having a significant presence of natural resource-based industries was a distinct job-creation advantage for states such as North Dakota, West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas. These were among the top 10 job markets in 2010, as they were in 2008 and 2009. Also among the top 10 in 2010 were Alaska — another energy state — and Washington, D.C., and Maryland, both of which benefit from having a large percentage of federal government workers. Mostly farm commodity states — including Arkansas, South Dakota, Iowa, and Pennsylvania — fill out the top 10.

What about improvement between 2009 and 2010?

States showing the most improvement in job market conditions between 2009 and 2010 included the long-depressed manufacturing states of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania — likely reflecting the significant improvement in U.S. manufacturing last year. Also among the most improved were 5 of the 10 states with the worst job markets in 2009, giving them the most room to improve: Oregon, Delaware, Arizona, Minnesota, along with Michigan. Reflecting the growth of the federal government, the District of Columbia was not only the second-best job market but also the second-most improved job market in 2010.

Eight of the states showing the least improvement last year were in the 10 best job markets in 2009, including New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Louisiana, Maryland, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia. Also among those showing the least improvement are several states in the Northeast — New Jersey, Vermont, and New York — and two smaller states in the West, Montana and Wyoming.

So, what does this mean politically?

It is noted that only two key battleground state in the Electoral College are listed – Nevada and Virginia. The other states are either very blue or very red which means these states in the extreme job markets will be ignored during the race for 2012.

Nevada’s unemployment rate, plus President Obama’s comments about Las Vegas may play well there for the GOP nominee but demographic changes (more Hispanic and union, Clark County voters) if they show up and vote may be too much to overcome.

Virginia is a state where the GOP will need to perform well if they wish to beat President Obama.

The GOP nominee will concentrate their campaign in other states which have poor unemployment numbers.

Gallup’s job creation index and job market conditions portend more of the same for 2011.

Gallup’s Job Creation Index averaged +7 nationwide during 2010, with 28% of employees reporting their companies were hiring and 21% saying their companies were letting people go. Regionally, job market creation was best in the Midwest and South but lagged behind in the East and West.

Looking ahead, it seems likely that the overall pattern of state job market conditions across the nation in 2011 will remain similar to those of the past three years. Energy prices are surging and gas is now $3.29 a gallon nationwide, compared with $2.69 a year ago. High oil prices tend to improve hiring activity in energy-producing states. Similarly, high commodity prices should help job conditions in the farm and mining states.

On the other hand, the housing market continues to suffer. This suggests that states with the worst housing conditions will continue to see relatively difficult job market conditions for some time.

Of course, it is possible that state and federal budget cutbacks could hurt job market conditions in some states more than others, particularly those having the worst budget problems, such as California, New York, and Illinois. Or, federal budget cuts could hurt states with a large number of federal government employees. Alternatively, U.S. manufacturing and exports could continue to increase, providing more jobs in industrial states.

All in all, not a good poll about jobs for the incumbent President and Democratic U.S. Senate incumbents going into election 2012.

Gallup: U.S. Unemployment Up Slightly to 9.8% in January

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Barack Obama, Unemployment Rate

This will not help President Obama as he prepares to run for re-election.
Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.8% at the end of January — up from 9.6% at the end of December, but down from 10.9% a year ago.

Some political pundits maintain that if the unemployment rate does not decrease to below 8% that Obama will NOT win re-election. So far, economic conditions do not look favorable for him.

Comparing Gallup’s unemployment and underemployment rates so far in 2011 with those for the same periods in 2010 provides something of a seasonally adjusted view of Gallup’s jobs data. Unemployment and underemployment are now at least one point below the rates of a year ago, reflecting modest improvement over the past year.

Still, Gallup’s measures paint a real-time picture of the current job realities on the ground: nearly 1 in 10 Americans in the U.S. workforce are unemployed, nearly one out of five are underemployed, and the nation’s overall hiring situation has not improved over the past four to six months.