U.S. Unadjusted Unemployment 8.3% in Mid-August

U.S. Unadjusted Unemployment 8.3% in Mid-August

by Jenny Marlar

Part-timers wanting full-time work at lowest rate since Gallup began tracking it in 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 8.3% in mid-August, compared with 8.2% at the end of July. Gallup's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is also 8.3%, up from 8.0% at the end of July.

Gallup Adjusted and Unadjusted Unemployment Rate Trend, January 2011-Mid-August 2012

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews, conducted by landline and cell phone from July 16-Aug. 15, including interviews with more than 30,000 U.S. adults, 68% of whom are active in the workforce. Gallup calculates a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate by applying the adjustment factor the government used for the same month in the previous year.

U.S. underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, is 17.0% in mid-August, compared with 17.1% at the end of July.

Gallup's U.S. underemployment measure, which combines the unemployed with those working part time but looking for full-time work, has been declining since April due to a drop in the latter component. The current underemployment rate is the lowest monthly or mid-monthly rate since Gallup began collecting employment data daily in 2010.

Gallup's U.S. Underemployment Rate, Monthly Averages, 2011-2012

The number of part-timers wanting full-time work has dropped more than a full percentage point in the last 3 ½ months, and is at the lowest point since Gallup began tracking employment. Given that the size of the workforce has not declined during the same period, this is a positive sign that in recent months more Americans working part time have found the full-time employment they desire.

Percentage of U.S. Workers Working Part Time but Wanting Full-Time Work,\nMonthly Averages, 2011-2012

Bottom Line

The uptick in Gallup's not-seasonally adjusted and seasonally adjusted unemployment rates suggests that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics will report little improvement, and possibly an increase, when it releases unemployment numbers for August on Sept. 7. The BLS collects data during a one-week reference period at mid-month, and Gallup's Daily mid-month data are a good early predictor of the BLS monthly jobs report.

Despite lackluster unemployment numbers, the declining number of part-timers wanting full-time work may be the silver lining. While employers are not hiring at rates substantial enough to reduce the unemployment rate, it does appear that they are making full-time opportunities available to part-time workers. Many employers have been hesitant to convert part-time positions to full time as they waited to see how the economic recovery would play out. Unemployment remains a chronic problem, but the decline in the underemployment rate may be a positive sign for hiring in the coming months.

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

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:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence, 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

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking from July 16-Aug. 15, 2012, with a random sample of 30,346 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.

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