Gallup: Unemployment now up over 9%

posted at 12:10 pm on March 8, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will release the official unemployment report for the month of February, but we have two previews this week to use as a gauge.  First, the ADP report predicts a net growth of 216,000 jobs in the private sector, improved from last month’s ADP report and about in line with the official January results from the BLS:

Employment in the U.S. nonfarm private business sector increased by 216,000 from January to February on a seasonally adjusted basis. The estimated advance in employment from December to January was revised slightly upwards to 173,000 from the initially reported 170,000.

Employment in the private, service-providing sector rose 170,000 in February, and employment in the private, goods-producing sector increased 46,000 in February.  Manufacturing employment increased 21,000.

Employment on large payrolls—those with 500 or more workers—increased 20,000, and employment on medium payrolls—those with 50 to 499 workers—rose 88,000 in February. Employment on small payrolls—those with up to 49 workers—rose 108,000 that same period. Of the 108,000 jobs created by small businesses, 18,000 jobs were created by the goods producing sector and 90,000 jobs were created by the service-producing sector.

Last month, ADP’s prediction got close to the official results for job growth.  That’s not an entirely normal event; ADP is frequently off in its predictions based on its payroll-service records.  Gallup has a little better track record, and their latest surveys predict a rise in unemployment:

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 9.1% in February from 8.6% in January and 8.5% in December.

The 0.5-percentage-point increase in February compared with January is the largest such month-to-month change Gallup has recorded in its not-seasonally adjusted measure since December 2010, when the rate rose 0.8 points to 9.6% from 8.8% in November. A year ago, Gallup recorded a February increase of 0.4 percentage points, to 10.3% from 9.9% in January 2011.

In addition to the 9.1% of U.S. workers who are unemployed, 10.0% are working part time but want full-time work. This percentage is similar to the 10.1% in January, but is higher than the 9.6% of February 2011.

Gallup’s surveys are similar in nature to those done by the BLS to determine its employment figures, although performed at different intervals.  This should result in a better predictive model than ADP’s, but strictly speaking, they measure two different if related trends.  Still, it’s difficult to net that many new jobs and still experience the spike shown in Gallup’s surveys over the last month, as seen in this chart:

I’ll predict that the jobless rate goes up to 8.6%, with 95,000 jobs added in tomorrow’s report.

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