US: Gallup Good Jobs Rate

Thu Nov 03 07:30:00 CDT 2016

Actual Previous
level 46.4 45.6

The October Gallup Good Jobs (GGJ) rate was 46.4 percent, up from 45.6 percent in September and higher than any GGJ rate recorded for the month of October since Gallup began tracking this measure in 2010. The GGJ rate declining from the record-high 47.1 percent in July -- but rising from last month's 45.6 percent -- is in line with typical seasonal patterns. GGJ typically peaks in June and July with summer employment and then drops in the fall, with a limited uptick in October.

The percentage of U.S. adults who participated in the workforce in October in any capacity -- by working full time, working part time or not working but actively seeking and being available for work -- was 68.4 percent, up almost a full percentage point from 67.5 percent in September.

The unadjusted U.S. unemployment rate in October was 5.1 percent, down from 5.4 percent in September and tied for the lowest reading since began tracking it in 2010. The measure of underemployment in October was 12.7 percent, down nominally from 12.9 percent in September.

The good jobs measure in October 2016 was the highest in any October since Gallup began tracking it in 2010. That continues the trend seen over the last 12 months, as the GGJ rate has hit a new high each month since November 2015 compared with the same month a year prior in Gallup's trend. That includes the high point across all months of 47.1 percent in July.

Gallup tracks daily the employment status of the U.S. population and the workforce. Based on an individual's responses to the question series, Gallup classifies respondents into one of six employment categories: employed full time for an employer; employed full time for self; employed part time, but do not want to work full time; employed part time, but want to work full time; unemployed; and out of the workforce. The data are based on a nationally representative sample of 29,000 interviews, including 18,000 in the workforce. Daily results reflect 30-day rolling averages.

Gallup unemployment data -- collected daily since 2010 -- are correlated with unemployment rates reported by the BLS. Gallup's unique Payroll to Population employment measure gives a clear picture of the employment situation for the entire U.S. population, without the complexity of the frequently changing size of the workforce. When U.S. workforce size decreases, unemployment rates can actually improve, even though fewer people are working. In contrast, Payroll to Population declines when fewer people are working full time, and rises when more people find full-time work

Unlike unemployment rates, the P2P percentage provides information about economic energy. For example, increasing retirement rates, such as will happen as those in the U.S. baby boomer generation move through their 60s into their 70s, will result in a lower overall P2P value unless there is an unusually high influx of immigrants. This means fewer people are sustaining the economy or contributing to the tax base. This decline in employment, which goes undetected in traditional employment measures, could have significant consequences. Alternatively, an increase in P2P rates can lead to sustained economic growth.

Additionally, the U.S. government's BLS calculations involve seasonal and other adjustments each month. While valuable, these can mask underlying trends. Traditional unemployment metrics count Americans who are working at least one hour per week as employed. In contrast, Payroll to Population will increase or decrease only if there is a change in the number of Americans working at full-time jobs.