Gallup Finds Unemployment Down to 9.2% in Mid-November

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

Underemployment, at 17.7%, is at its lowest level of 2010

PRINCETON, NJ -- Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, declined to 9.2% during the first half of November -- down from 9.4% during the last half of October and 10.0% in mid-October -- and one of the lowest levels of the year.

Gallup's U.S. Unemployment Rate, January-November 2010

Improvement Since September in Part-Time Workers Looking for Full-Time Work

The percentage of part-time workers who want full-time work also declined slightly to 8.5% of the workforce in mid-November -- reaching a new low for the year. While not much different from the 8.6% of mid-October, this is well below the 9.2% of mid-September.

Percentage of Americans Working Part Time and Wanting Full-Time Work, January-November 2010

Underemployment Hits a New Low

The decline in the unemployment rate along with the slight drop in the percentage of part-time workers wanting full-time work combined to bring underemployment down to 17.7% -- its lowest level of 2010. This is an improvement from the 18.6% underemployment of mid-October and mid-September, and is the second consecutive new low.

U.S. Underemployment, January-November 2010

Jobs Situation Improving

Gallup's economic data suggest that the job market continued to improve during the first half of November. As noted previously, if current Gallup unemployment trends continue, the government's unemployment rate for November is likely to show a decline when reported in early December.

Because Gallup's U.S. unemployment rate and underemployment measure are not seasonally adjusted, some of the late October and November improvement is probably the result of retailers hiring for the Christmas holidays. This is particularly likely because Gallup's most recent spending estimates suggest at least a slightly better holiday sales season this year.

Although many economists and politicians continue to complain about the Federal Reserve's efforts to inject money into the economy, it may be that anticipation of this aggressive Fed policy has increased economic optimism among the nation's business leaders. In turn, this could be leading to more companies being willing to hire.

Regardless of the reason, this is good news for retailers and the overall economy as the holiday season gets fully underway. reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence and Job Creation, Consumer Spending
Weekly: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Read more about Gallup's economic measures.

Survey Methods

Gallup classifies American workers as underemployed if they are either unemployed or working part time but wanting full-time work. The findings reflect more than 18,000 phone interviews with U.S. adults aged 18 and older in the workforce, collected over a 30-day period. Gallup's results are not seasonally adjusted and tend to be a precursor of government reports by approximately two weeks.

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking Oct. 17-Nov. 15, 2010, with a random sample of 18,427 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell phone-only status, cell phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

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