A new poll from Gallup finds U.S. employment rose to 10 percent in mid-February, up from 9.8 percent at the end of January. This contrasts dramatically with official government figures, which put the jobless rate a full point lower at 9 percent.
Gallup based its result phone interviews over a 30-day period with a random sample of more than 18,000 adults in all 50 states. The organization said that its results tend to predict government data releases two weeks ahead.
The maximum margin of error is plus or minus 1 percent, Gallup said.
The percentage of Americans who want full-time work but can only find part-time positions jumped to 9.6 percent from 9.1 percent in the same period.
|A job seeker in Oakland, Calif.
“Underemployment,” which Gallup defines as a combination of unemployment and those seeking full-time work who have part-time jobs, hit 19.6 percent — just below where it was a year ago.
“On this broader basis, current job conditions are barely improved from what they were at this time last year. Essentially, what has happened over the past year is that some people who were unemployed got part-time jobs but are still looking for full-time work,” said Dennis Jacobe, chief economist for Gallup.
“This is not much to show for a year in which many macro-economic indicators showed improvement,” Jacobe said. “This is likely why Gallup's self-reported spending remains stuck in a ‘new normal’ even as consumer optimism continues to hit new highs,” Jacobe said.
“Jobs remain the key to getting the U.S. economy moving, and mid-February underemployment results suggest little or no progress is being made in that regard.”
New applications for jobless benefits rose by 25,000 to 410,000 last week, lower than the peak of 500,000 in August but still historically high. The economy lost an estimated 8 million jobs in the recession.
"With unemployment too high and inflation too low — and both forecasted to stay that way over the next two years — we have missed on both of our policy objectives," Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said in a speech Thursday.
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