Seasonal rise in hiring in 2014 begins at typical time
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate (P2P), as measured by Gallup, was 43.4% in April. This is up slightly from 42.7% in March, but down from 44.5% in April 2013. The P2P rate of 42.6% for the first quarter of 2014 is also below the averages for the first quarters of 2012 (43.6%) and 2013 (43.4%).
Gallup's P2P metric tracks the percentage of the U.S. adult population aged 18 and older who are employed full time by an employer for at least 30 hours per week. P2P is not seasonally adjusted. However, because of seasonal fluctuations, year-over-year comparisons are often helpful in evaluating whether monthly changes are attributable to seasonal hiring patterns or true growth (or deterioration) in the percentage of people working full time for an employer. On the basis of that comparison, the P2P rate for April 2014 is down from the 44.5% found in the same month last year, but is on par with the 43.6% measured in April 2012.
The latest results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with approximately 30,000 Americans, conducted April 1-30, by landline telephone and cellphone. Gallup does not count adults who are self-employed, working part time, unemployed, or out of the workforce as payroll-employed in the P2P metric.
Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment 7.5% in April
Unlike Gallup's P2P rate, which is a percentage of the total population, traditional employment metrics -- such as the unemployment rates that Gallup and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report -- represent percentages of the workforce. Gallup defines the "workforce" as adults who are working or actively looking for work and available for employment. The U.S. workforce participation rate in April was 66.0%, unchanged from March's 66.0%, but down from 68.5% in April 2013.
Gallup's unadjusted U.S. unemployment rate for April is 7.1%, down slightly from 7.4% in April 2013. Gallup's seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate for April is 7.5%. Gallup calculates this rate by applying the adjustment factor the government used for the same month in the previous year. Last year, the government adjusted April's rate upward by 0.4 percentage points. The exact adjustment the government will use for April 2014 will not be known until Friday's BLS release.
Gallup and BLS unemployment data are both based on large national samples, and Gallup's employment numbers generally correlate with BLS rates. However, the two surveys have important methodological differences, and the numbers will differ slightly from month to month.
Underemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was 16.6% in April. This is similar to the 16.9% found in March and down from 17.5% in April 2013. Gallup's U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed (7.1%) with those who are working part time but looking for full-time work (9.5%).
The dip in the P2P rate in March was erased in April, as P2P again rose above 43%. That change was expected, as the P2P rate -- the percentage of U.S. adults employed full time for an employer -- has generally been lowest in the first quarter of each year since Gallup began tracking it in January 2010. P2P typically starts to tick up in April and peaks in the summer and early fall. Thus, Gallup's P2P measure should continue to rise in the coming months.
Still, P2P for this past month is a full percentage point below the P2P figure measured in April 2013. P2P for the first quarter of 2014 was 42.6%, the lowest first-quarter average since 42.2% in 2011. Even expected increases in the spring and summer may not bring it back to where it was in the springs and summers of 2012 and 2013.
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 for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 1-30, 2014, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 29,407 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.
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 of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone 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 to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, and cellphone mostly). Demographic weighting targets are based on the most recent Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the most recent National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the most recent U.S. census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
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.