Gallup: Unemployment Climbs to 9% in February

Unemployment in the U.S. rose to nine percent in mid-February, up from 8.3 percent a month earlier, according to a new Gallup survey.

The polling company said this suggests that it is “premature” to assume the economy will not feature prominently in the 2012 election season.

“Further, it suggests that it is premature to assume the condition of the economy will not remain a major issue for Americans both financially and politically in 2012.”


Gallup figures typically provide an indication of what the government will report at the end of the month.

“The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February,” Gallup said in its mid-month unemployment survey, released on February 17. “The mid-month reading normally reflects what the U.S. government reports for the entire month, and is up from 8.3% in mid-January.”

The survey also found that “underemployment” – those unemployed and those working part-time because full-time jobs are unavailable – rose to 19 percent, up from the 18.7 percent Gallup found in January.

Gallup said its report reflected a continuing trend of weakness in U.S. labor markets, marking a “sharp deterioration” in job market conditions.

“Regardless of what the government reports, Gallup’s unemployment and underemployment measures show a sharp deterioration in job market conditions since mid-January.”


Gallup said the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) would likely report a rise in the official unemployment rate in early March, when it publishes its February figures.

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18 Statistics That Prove The Economy Has Not Improved Under Obama


Has the economy improved since Barack Obama became the president of the United States? Of course not. Despite what you may be hearing in the mainstream media, the truth is that when you compare the U.S. economy on the day that Barack Obama was inaugurated to the U.S. economy today, there is really no comparison. The unemployment crisis is worse than it was then, home values have fallen, the cost of health insurance is up, the cost of gas is way up, the number of Americans living in poverty has soared and the size of our national debt has absolutely exploded.

The following are 18 statistics that prove that the economy has not improved since Barack Obama became the president of the United States....

#1 Today there are 88 million working age Americans that are not employed and that are not looking for employment. That is an all-time record high.

#2 When Barack Obama was elected, the percentage of unemployed Americans that had been out of work for more than 52 weeks was less than 15%. Today, it is above 30%.

#3 There are 1.2 million fewer jobs in America today than there were when Barack Obama was inaugurated.

#4 When Barack Obama first took office, the number of "long-term unemployed workers" in the United States was approximately 2.6 million. Today, that number is sitting at 5.6 million.

#5 The average duration of unemployment in the United States is hovering close to an all-time record high.

#6 During the Obama administration, worker health insurance costs have risen by 23 percent.

#7 Since Barack Obama has been president, the average price of a gallon of gasoline in the United States has increased by 90 percent.

#8 Since Barack Obama has been president, home values in the United States have declined by another 13 percent.

#9 Under Barack Obama, new home sales in the U.S. set a brand new all-time record low in 2009, they set a brand new all-time record low again in 2010, and they set a brand new all-time record low once again during 2011.

#10 Since Barack Obama took office, the number of Americans living in poverty has risen by more than 6 million.

#11 Since Barack Obama entered the White House, the number of Americans on food stamps has increased from 32 million to 46 million.

#12 The amount of money that the federal government gives directly to Americans has increased by 32 percent since Barack Obama entered the White House.

#13 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of Americans living in "extreme poverty" is now sitting at an all-time high.

#14 When Barack Obama first took office, an ounce of gold was going for about $850. Today an ounce of gold costs more than $1700 an ounce.

#15 Since Barack Obama became president, the size of the U.S. national debt has increased by 44 percent.

#16 During Barack Obama's first two years in office, the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined.

#17 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

#18 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

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The True Unemployment Rate is 36%


How would you define “unemployment?”

Would you define “unemployment” as measuring “people who want a job, but can’t get one?” This is, broadly speaking, the definition embraced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The trick to making those numbers dance lies in measuring “people who want a job.” The widely reported U-3 unemployment metric, currently standing at 8.3 percent, is very aggressive in shaving off people who have not made recent efforts to find work. It is further distorted by massive “seasonal adjustments,” which made over a million people vanish into thin air last month.

This is why the official unemployment rate gets lower when the American workforce contracts. Workforce contraction is a very bad thing. People who simply cannot find work, and languish on unemployment insurance for years, are the last thing a prosperous country needs… but those people don’t count in the official unemployment rate. For example, if everyone under the age of 25 abruptly stopped looking for work, it would be an economic disaster, but the official unemployment rate would go down, because the pool of people looking for work would get smaller.

(That’s not quite as far-fetched an example as it might sound, incidentally. Even the heavily-massaged U-3 unemployment rate currently sits at 23.2 percent for ages 16-19, and 13.3 percent for ages 20-24… and it’s about two percent higher for young men. Policies that increase the cost of labor, such as minimum-wage increases and mandated benefits, have a particularly punishing effect on young entry-level workers, since their labor has less intrinsic value than experienced older employees.)

This is precisely what has been happening under Barack Obama. The workforce is contracting with horrible speed, but it has the beneficial side effect of making the official unemployment rate go down a little, although 8.3 percent is still pathetic. The Administration bounces happily before the cameras and announces its policies are “working,” and job creation is now “on the right track,” even as their best months post job creation only slightly in excess of population growth – and they’ve only had a few such months. Pundits begin wondering if the old political rules that say re-election is impossible with unemployment over 6 or 7 percent might not apply to this President, if he can campaign on a slowly declining unemployment rate.

Since the concept of people who aren’t looking for work is so fluid, and some of those people have clearly been persuaded not to look for work because of job-destroying government policies, it might be more logical to measure unemployment using the standard incorrectly offered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the U-3 rate: “total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force.” That’s what the U-3 rate claims to measure, but it doesn’t, not by a long shot.

What is the current percentage of working-age Americans, eligible to participate in the civilian labor force, but not currently working? Answer: 36.3 percent.

That’s the worst labor participation rate in three decades, and it’s part of the worst employment picture we’ve seen since the Great Depression.

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