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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Gallup Adds Seasonally Adjusted Unemployment Rate to Its Employment Measures

Gallup today released its first seasonally adjusted unemployment rate trend. This series is based on the unadjusted unemployment rates Gallup has been reporting since January 2010. Each month, Gallup will now provide both an unadjusted as well as a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate based on the seasonal adjustment used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in the same month of the previous year.

Gallup's March unadjusted unemployment rate is 8.4% and its seasonally adjusted rate is 8.1%. Gallup's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate trend is generally consistent with the official BLS unemployment rate trend used in the past couple of years.

Gallup will continue to report its core unemployment metrics on an unadjusted basis. Gallup believes that its unadjusted metrics provide key insights into what is actually happening in the marketplace to Americans working and looking for work as well as in the overall economy. Gallup's metrics are based on a random sample of approximately 30,000 Americans each month, and follow the same general procedures as used by the BLS, with some methodological differences.

At the same time, we have determined that releasing a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate series provides some additional benefits, including:

  • Allowing comparison of data across months on a fair basis when seasonal factors might otherwise affect the individual monthly results.
  • Providing for analysis of underlying trends in the data by excluding seasonal variations.
  • Producing more clarity about how Gallup's unemployment data relate to the results the BLS reports on a monthly basis.
Gallup finds this to be a good time to provide seasonally adjusted data. The factors associated with the 2008-2009 recession and financial crisis are now dissipating, increasing the accuracy of the seasonal adjustment process. Gallup now feels comfortable reporting a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate series dating back to January 2010.

The importance of adding Gallup's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to Gallup's overall unemployment reporting is illustrated by Gallup's unemployment results early this year. On an unadjusted basis, Gallup's U.S. unemployment rate was 8.4% in March, down from 9.1% in February. Seasonally adjusting both months, based on the BLS adjustment process used in the prior year, provides a Gallup rate of 8.1% in March compared with an 8.6% rate in February. Both measures accurately reflect the month-to-month change in the unemployment rate as measured by Gallup. But, by seasonally adjusting the data, the Gallup results provide an enhanced context for those seeking to compare the numbers to the BLS seasonally adjusted rate of 8.3% for February.


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