Based on Gallup polls, it seems that US employment has worsened since mid-September, or just after the survey period for the September employment report.
Unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is at 10.0% in mid-October — essentially the same as the 10.1% at the end of September but up sharply from 9.4% in mid-September and 9.3% at the end of August. This mid-month measurement confirms the late September surge in joblessness that should be reflected in the government’s Nov. 5 unemployment report.
In this regard, Gallup modeling suggests the government’s unemployment rate report for October will be in the 9.7% to 9.9% range when it is released Nov. 5. The government’s last report showed the U.S. unemployment rate at 9.6% in September on a seasonally adjusted basis, as Gallup anticipated. In addition to seasonal adjustments, the official unemployment rate is likely to be held down by a continued exodus of people from the workforce. It is easy for potential workers to become discouraged when the unemployment rate is expected to remain above 9% through the end of 2011.
In this regard, the lack of increase in Gallup’s underemployment measure when the unemployment rate is increasing would normally be a good sign for jobs and the economy. However, the current decline in the percentage of workers employed part time but looking for full-time work is not necessarily positive. It might be that some workers who are employed part time are losing their jobs — becoming unemployed or dropping out of the workforce — and are not being replaced, while new part-time workers are not being hired.
Regardless, Gallup’s employment data continue to reveal little good news for consumer spending, retailers, or the unemployed as the holidays approach.