March Gallup good jobs rate rose to 45.1 percent in March from 44.4 percent in February. Although down from its peak of 47.1 percent in July of 2016, it is currently higher than the 44.4 percent recorded in March of 2016. The GGJ is at its highest point since November 2016 (45.7 percent).
Gallup began measuring the GGJ rate in January 2010 and since then, it has generally trended upward over time. The average monthly change has been plus 0.3 percentage points since January 2011, the first month for which data could be compared with data recorded in the same month of the previous year. The rate of change from March 2016 to March of this year was more than twice the average at plus 0.7 percentage points.
Workforce participation increased slightly to 67.8 percent in March from 67.4 percent in February. The current rate of workforce participation is nearly a full percentage point higher than it was in March 2016 (66.9 percent). Gallup's unemployment rate was unchanged in March at 5.6 percent. However, this is still down slightly from 6.0 percent in March of 2016. The measure of underemployment declined from 13.9 percent in January to 13.5 percent in March. Underemployment was also down from 14.4 percent in March of 2016.
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.