Underemployment declines to 17.1%, the lowest since Gallup trend began in 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was 8.2% in July, up slightly from 8.0% in June, but better than the 8.8% from a year ago. Gallup's seasonally adjusted number for July is 8.0%, an increase from 7.8% in June.
These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews, conducted by landline and cell phone, with almost 30,000 Americans throughout the month. Gallup calculates a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate by applying the adjustment factor the government used for the same month in the previous year. July data by demographic group are found on page 2.
Unemployment had previously dropped to 7.9% in mid-July, the lowest it has been since Gallup began tracking employment daily in 2010. However, the improvement was short-lived, and unemployment increased during the second half of the month.
Underemployment, however, did decline -- for the third straight month in July, to 17.1%, the lowest since Gallup started collecting employment data. Gallup's U.S. underemployment measure combines the unemployed with those working part time but looking for full-time work. Gallup does not apply a seasonal adjustment to underemployment.
The number of part-time workers wanting full-time work dropped to 8.9% in July, accounting for the improvement in underemployment. This is also down, from 9.2% in July a year ago.
Another area of apparent improvement was in the percentage of workers employed full time for an employer. Sixty-six percent of the workforce was working full-time for an employer in July, the highest Gallup has measured to date.
While the percentage of people in the workforce working full time improved during the month of July, the gains are erased when accounting for the decline in the total size of the workforce. The total percentage of people in the U.S. adult population working full time was unchanged from June to July.
Hope of Finding a Job Unchanged
Forty-five percent of underemployed Americans are hopeful they will find work in the next four weeks, unchanged from June. It is also little changed from July a year ago, when 47% reported hope for finding a job.
However, hope improved slightly among the unemployed during July, to 55%, while it declined to 36% among part-timers wanting full-time employment.
Gallup's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in July, suggesting that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment rate will remain flat, or even increase, when released on Friday.
As Gallup's data show, unemployment has experienced a slight deterioration over the past two weeks. More people are now unemployed and slightly fewer people participated in the workforce compared with the month of June.
While fewer people are working part time but wanting full-time work, the increase in unemployment and the decline in the labor force suggest that these people may have become unemployed or moved out of the workforce, meaning these numbers may not be the bright spot they appear to be. This may explain why underemployed part-time workers are less optimistic about their job prospects even though their numbers are declining.
If there is to be true improvement in the employment situation in the coming months, unemployment will need to decline, and the percentage of people in the population participating in the workforce at their desired capacity will need to increase.
Gallup.com reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in Gallup.com stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:
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Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking from July 1-31, 2012, with a random sample of 29,303 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 by 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 2011 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 www.gallup.com.