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Friday, May 6, 2011

No "Real" Improvement in Jobs

Gallup's measurement of the jobs situation shows little improvement over the first four months of 2011 and even less improvement compared with a year ago. The U.S. unemployment rate -- not seasonally adjusted -- according to Gallup was 9.4% in April 2011 -- down from 9.8% in January and 9.6% in April 2010. Comparing the 2011 unemployment trend with that of 2010 shows a reasonably similar pattern and suggests the seeming decline in unemployment so far in 2011 is likely due in large part to seasonal hiring patterns -- companies tend to hire more during the Spring than the winter.

While the not-seasonally-adjusted data from the BLS shows a similar pattern to Gallup's data in 2010, the BLS shows a more pronounced drop in 2011 falling from 9.8% in January to 8.7% in April. In turn, this puts the BLS measure for 2011 nearly one percentage point below where it was in 2010.

However, the seasonally adjusted BLS results show no decline in 2011 with the unemployment rate at 9.0% in January and April. Still, this adjusted April 2011 result is almost one point below the 9.8% BLS unemployment number of April 2010.

Gallup's data show a modest if any "real" improvement in the jobs situation over the first four months of 2011 and none on a year-over-year basis. Although the government's numbers do show a year-over-year change, even their 9.0% unemployment rate means the job situation remains a major challenge for the U.S. economy. 

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