The good news is that private sector companies added 227,000 jobs in February 2012, reported by the U.S. Labor Department.
The bad news is that the unemployment rate is still unchanged at 8.3%. One of the explanations for this is that as the economy recovers, people who gave up looking for jobs will re-enter the job markets and therefore will be included/counted in the unemployment rate. The so-called U6 unemployment rate which includes additional people who are under-employed (i.e. working temporary part-time jobs while waiting for full-time positions) or those who gave up looking for jobs, is still at 14.9%—an improvement from 15.1% in January.
These are the rates from the government.
Gallup has different numbers.
According to Gallup, the unemployment rate is 9.1% in February—up from 8.6% in January. Gallup also has 19.1% as the underemployment rate when it adds in people who are working part-time but wanting full-time jobs.
Why are the rates from the U.S. Labor Department lower than Gallup’s numbers?
There are several factors/reasons:
- The government includes people 16 and older while Gallup includes only 18 and older: most kids from 16-18 would still be in school, so the government would count them as “employed”, therefore its unemployment rate looks better than Gallup.
- The government’s rate is seasonally adjusted, taking in account for example unemployment is higher in January and February, when it is cold in many parts of the country and work in agriculture, construction, and other seasonal industries is curtailed. Gallup does not adjust for season.
- Gallup’s poll sample size is 30,000 people. Government uses 60,000 for its sample size.
Things to consider for the 2012 election:
- Regardless of what numbers you believe in, the unemployment rate is still quite high—somewhere between 8.3% and 9.1%. The underemployment is extremely high—between 14.9% and 19.1%. Many families are still struggling.
- We still have 15% of the population on food-stamps.
- Our national debt is still over 15 trillion –with 4 trillion coming from Obama’s budgets in just 3 years 2010-2012.
- China still manipulates its currency at will—causing increase in imbalance in trades between the two countries and the disadvantage of U.S. goods in the world market.
Does Obama deserve your vote? Or should Romney get your vote, assuming he can wrap up the nomination from the Republican Party?