Gallup poll suggests spike in unemployment for February

posted at 11:00 am on February 17, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Barack Obama has had some good news on the employment front the last couple of months.  Net job creation has outpaced population growth, although not nearly enough to make a dent in the chronically unemployed, and economic indicators have mostly been positive if unspectacular.  Gallup’s latest mid-month survey on employment shows potential storm clouds on the horizon, however:

The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February, up from 8.6% for January. The mid-month reading normally reflects what the U.S. government reports for the entire month, and is up from 8.3% in mid-January. …

Underemployment, a measure that combines the percentage of workers who are unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, is 19.0% in mid-February. This is higher than the 18.7% recorded for January, and is up significantly compared with January’s mid-month reading of 18.1%.

Something appears to be happening in the last few weeks to push employment back down in Gallup’s survey, usually a good if not exact indicator of official trends from the BLS.  It’s unclear what that might be, although it probably relates to current and anticipated demand.  The advance GDP report for 2011Q4 was a decent 2.8%, but the real final sales number was under 1%, which indicates inventory inflation and signals lower output in succeeding quarters, and also indicates flagging demand.

The other possibility is the anticipated rise in energy prices, especially in gasoline.  That will have a corrosive effect on disposable income in two directions — directly at the pump, where it will cost more for consumers to come to market, and on the prices of goods at the market when they arrive.  That will lower demand even further, as seen in the rapid rise of gas prices at this time last year.  Businesses might be bracing for this by postponing replacement hiring or trimming staff, especially with CBO outlooks for growth this year and next being 2.0% and 1.1%, respectively.

We’re two weeks away from the February employment report, but this precursor from Gallup isn’t good news at all.  We’ll see if it’s an outlier this month, or a warning.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

Listen, my husband is unemployed and I praying for good news!! Stop focusing of freaking Obama!! Let’s hope God’s will will be the one done, not the will of the ones with ODS. We survived worst than the idea of him having another 4 yrs. Let’s just make sure congress is a counteract, not for unemployment to jump back up.

Can.I.be.in.the.middle on February 17, 2012 at 12:10 PM

..I am truly sorry for your situation and pray that your husband finds employment. There are millions lie you out there and some have been out of work for so long that they have opted out of the mechanism that counts them in the work force. Stats have been cited about the duration on the unemployment rolls folks have been and everytime you turn aroundm, they are increasign the length that unemployment benefits can be recived.

But people are arguing here against either (1) the systemic dismantling of this economy by this administration or (2) the destruction of same through policies that have over time been proven to be patent failures.

While your pain is immediate, the prospect of this economy improving being saddled by four more years of this idiot’s vagaries bodes ill for all of us — whether it means prolonged unemployment or a future of servitude to a government content to breed it’s followers like sheep and hand out entitlements, encouraging their dependence.

Again, my heart goes out to you and all those who suffer. The debate raging here seeks to bring a better future than merely obtaining work as an underemployed cog in this socialist machine.

The War Planner on February 17, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Drat! “There are millions like you out..” of course.

The War Planner on February 17, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Economics is Hard. Don’t Let Bloggers Tell You Otherwise
In this essay, I argue that neither non-economist bloggers, nor economists who portrayeconomics —especially macroeconomic policy— as a simple enterprise with clear conclusions, arelikely to contibute any insight to discussion of economics and, as a result, should be ignored byan open-minded lay public.

J_Crater on February 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM

On the upside, it looks like the overall size of the workforce went up slightly this month

Mahna Mahna on February 17, 2012 at 12:42 PM

How can this be? Gallup must have it all wrong. Just this week Business Week magazine lamented, “government rules have become politically toxic.” But never fear: “The Obama Administration, girding for election-year attacks on its record, is trying to highlight the upside of government rules.”

Let’s see; government regulations create jobs for lawyers, fillers-out of paperwork forms, installers of state-mandated equipment, and so forth. So Hopeychangey’s campaign will claim that creating jobs in the compliance sector is good for the ole USofA! Awesome!

I feel better already. /s

jb34461 on February 17, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Hmmm, it’s strange. Poor economic numbers seem to be popping up, yet the administration and the press only seem to talk about how religions infringe on women’s rights and contraception.

If I was a Ron Paul guy, I’d bet my tinfoil hat that they knew ahead of time and pushed the contraception mandate to pull attention away from bad economic news.

But Obama wouldn’t be that cynical and scheming would he?

PetecminMd on February 17, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Yet I’d gladly pay $5 per gallon if it meant we would be flushing this turd in November.

The War Planner on February 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Don’t count on that. Come October gas will drop below $2/gallon just like the last election. I don’t understand all the factors that go into crude prices, but it seems national elections tend to make crude prices drop a few months before election day. (Which in turn drops gas prices)

ButterflyDragon on February 17, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Depends on the Saudis, generally they help out the US president and keep the barrels cheap in the runup to an election. This time around they may have so little regard for Bammie that they do the opposite. All those pipes and pumps need regular maintenance you know.

slickwillie2001 on February 17, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Imagine how terrifying the employment numbers would look if they told the actual TRUTH about them.

85% of small businesses not hiring because of zerobama’s regulations? Clipping the under-employed numbers and those unemployed for longer and 99 weeks all removed from the numbers?

Part timers counted as full time employment, homeless counted as newly employed (even though they never collected unemployment) just because an Acorn type organization was able to count them 24 times?

If the government gives numbers for anything at all, the media outlets need to stop taking these numbers as if they were anything other than a fairy tale. Even Fox takes these cooked-book numbers and reports them as if they were real.

Come on. Look who we’re talking about here….the liar in chief, that’s a clue, ok?

Wolfmoon on February 17, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Just a reminder, the date of the shift in the the balance of power from Republican to Democrat was not January 2009… it was January 2007, when Democrats took over the House and Senate, and therefore a majority of the budget-making entities.

The last time that Republicans held majority control was December 2006.

And what did the Democrats “inherit” from the Republicans?

Unemployment was 4.4%

… and the total national debt was under $8.7 Trillion.

That’s what the Democrats inherited. And over the last 5 years, the Democrats have absolutely tanked our economy. Yet all they seem able to do is “blame Bush”.

ITguy on February 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Gee, you mean the payroll tax extension isn’t working?

Shocker.

Bitter Clinger on February 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Just a reminder, the date of the shift in the the balance of power from Republican to Democrat was not January 2009… it was January 2007, when Democrats took over the House and Senate, and therefore a majority of the budget-making entities.

The last time that Republicans held majority control was December 2006.

And what did the Democrats “inherit” from the Republicans?

Unemployment was 4.4%

… and the total national debt was under $8.7 Trillion.

That’s what the Democrats inherited. And over the last 5 years, the Democrats have absolutely tanked our economy. Yet all they seem able to do is “blame Bush”.

ITguy on February 17, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Just wait! Now with businesses paying MORE taxes, the economy will get MUCH better(er)…right? RIGHT??

I will be shocked… SHOCKED when the economy tanks further this summer, I tell you! (Waiting for the underused unexpected word to show up in future AP and Reuters reports)

Turtle317 on February 17, 2012 at 1:35 PM

The average reported unemployment rate over the entire 8 years of George W. Bush’s Presidency was 5.3%.

The average reported unemployment rate over the first 3 years of Barack Obama’s Presidency has been 9.3%.

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

And, if you remove the “fudge factor” by holding the labor force participation rate constant at it’s long-term average of 65.8%, then the real unemployment rate was even lower under President Bush and even higher under President Obama.

… as of December, the real implied unemployment rate was 11.4% (final chart) – basically where it has been ever since 2009

ITguy on February 17, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I didn’t see the word “unexpectedly”.

What does that mean…?

BobMbx on February 17, 2012 at 1:58 PM

I didn’t see the word “unexpectedly”.

What does that mean…?

BobMbx on February 17, 2012 at 1:58 PM

It is their way of saying,”We didn’t LIE! We just don’t have a clue.”

Unexpected! /S

DannoJyd on February 17, 2012 at 2:16 PM

The February report will be released in 2 weeks, but based on the data I have been seeing, I suspect we will see more strong job growth. The unemployment rate has many factors in it, and it is possible that the actual rate may jump if more people enter the work force and can’t find jobs. But given the strong readings we have seen so far this month, I would guess we will probably see another +200K in jobs created.

TouchdownBuddha on February 17, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Economics is Hard. Don’t Let Bloggers Tell You Otherwise
In this essay, I argue that neither non-economist bloggers, nor economists who portrayeconomics —especially macroeconomic policy— as a simple enterprise with clear conclusions, arelikely to contibute any insight to discussion of economics and, as a result, should be ignored byan open-minded lay public.

J_Crater on February 17, 2012 at 12:31 PM

So your alternative is to ignore everyone else’s opinions & rely solely on our superior intellectuals in gov’t & academia?

In other words: “Shut up,” she explained.

mdenis39 on February 17, 2012 at 2:45 PM

15%

Schadenfreude on February 17, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Touchdown, what you don’t mention are the millions who have dropped out of the workforce since bozo took office. Obviously, they will eventually start to look again when the real unemployment number (which is closer to 15%) will take shape and take bozo down with it.

Ta111 on February 17, 2012 at 3:27 PM

I had been unemployed for just over 5 years 8 months until recently.

That means that I was not being counted as unemployed.

But my employed status now is counting towards the ‘increase’ in employement.

Explain to me, Barack, how I’ve magically appeared out of thin air to reflect as a positive in the job market when I wasn’t counted as unemployed just three weeks ago?

madmonkphotog on February 17, 2012 at 3:44 PM

15%

Schadenfreude on February 17, 2012 at 3:04 PM

So, unemployment has more than tripled under the Democrats’ watch…

ITguy on February 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

madmonkphotog on February 17, 2012 at 3:44 PM

Excellent point, and congratulations on your new employment!

ITguy on February 17, 2012 at 3:49 PM

The October surprise will be the unemployment rate being reported at 7%. You heard it here first.

Decoski on February 17, 2012 at 9:21 PM

Comment pages: 1 2