Gallup Finds Unemployment at 8.9% in Mid-July

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

Underemployment remains at 18.3% -- the same as in June 2011 and mid-July 2010

PRINCETON, NJ -- Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is at 8.9% in the middle of July -- up from 8.7% at the end of June. Unemployment was at 9.3% at this same time a year ago.

Gallup's U.S. Unemployment Rate, 2010-2011

The percentage of part-time workers who want full-time work is 9.4% in mid-July -- down from 9.6% at the end of June. However, more Americans are working part time but seeking full-time work in mid-July 2011 than was the case in mid-July 2010 (9.0%).

Percentage of Americans Working Part Time but Wanting Full-Time Work, 2010-2011

Underemployment Shows No Improvement

Underemployment, a measure that combines the percentage of unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, is at 18.3% in mid-July -- precisely the same as at the end of June and in mid-July 2010.

Gallup's U.S. Underemployment Rate, 2010-2011


Gallup's modeling of its most recent unemployment results suggests an early July deterioration in the U.S. jobs situation. This may be partly a lagged effect of the economic soft patch during the first two quarters of 2011. It may also be a sign that many employers are pulling back on their hiring intentions, as slower-than-expected economic growth has reduced their sales and revenue expectations for the second half of the year.

Company hiring may also be suffering from the political rhetoric surrounding the debate over raising the federal debt limit. There seems to be a lack of clarity about exactly what would happen if the federal government is temporarily unable to pay its obligations -- although everyone knows such an outcome would not be good. In addition, there are uncertainties on Wall Street, financial problems in Europe, and a sharp drop in economic confidence on Main Street. It is hard to hire when business prospects become so much more uncertain than usual.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, in his testimony before the Congress last week, repeated his view that the weakness in today's economy is temporary and that economic activity will pick up in the second half of 2011. At this point, the lack of job growth as reflected by Gallup's unemployment, underemployment, and job creation data does not support that assessment. Instead, Gallup's survey results tend to imply that the current economic soft patch may be somewhat less transitory than the Fed chief hopes.

How Gallup's Unemployment Measure Differs From the U.S. Government's Measure 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.

View our economic release schedule.

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 are ahead of government reports by approximately two weeks.

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking from June 16-July 15, 2011, with a random sample of 18,484 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 sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. 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, and phone status (cell phone only/landline only/both, cell phone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2010 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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