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Gallup says U.S. unadjusted unemployment down to 7% in October

Jenny Marlar • Nov 2, 2012 at 3:41 AM

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, fell to 7.0% for the month of October, down significantly from the 7.9% measured at the end of September. Gallup's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.4%, improved more than a half a point from September.

These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews, conducted by landline and cell phone, with approximately 30,000 Americans throughout the month -- 68.3% of whom in October reported being active in the workforce. The monthly average for October excludes Oct. 29 and Oct. 30, the two days that Gallup did not poll because of the effects of Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast. Gallup calculates a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate by applying the adjustment factor the government used for the same month in the previous year. For October, Gallup applied the .04 upward adjustment the government used last year.

Seasonally unadjusted unemployment of 7.0% is the lowest Gallup has recorded since it began collecting unemployment data in January 2010. It is also more than a full point and a half improvement over the October 2011 rate, when unadjusted unemployment was 8.4%. The size of the workforce, which can influence employment rates, was little changed, at 68.3%, from 68.2% in September.

Underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, was 15.9% in October, an improvement since the end of September and a significant decline from 17.8% a year ago. This is the lowest underemployment rate since Gallup started collecting underemployment data in 2010.

Gallup's U.S. underemployment measure combines the percentage who are unemployed with the percentage of those working part time but looking for full-time work. Gallup does not apply a seasonal adjustment to underemployment.

Although underemployment improved during October, the number of part-timers wanting full-time work increased to 8.9%, up from 8.6% in September. Part-time hiring generally picks up during the holiday season, so many previously unemployed members of the workforce may now be working part-time jobs but still desiring permanent, full-time employment. This is likely why the government adjusts its unemployment rate up .04 in October.

Gallup's decline in seasonally adjusted unemployment, the closest comparison to the official numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), suggests that the BLS will report another decline in the unemployment rate when it releases the numbers on Friday.

Holiday sales are expected to improve over last year, which could be contributing to some of the increased hiring this year. Unless a significant number of permanent jobs are added in the coming months, unadjusted unemployment will increase again in early 2013 as seasonal jobs end. Still, the decline in seasonally adjusted unemployment and year-over-year unadjusted unemployment are a promising sign that more Americans are finding the work they desire.

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