U.S. Unemployment Rate Rises, Underemployment Falling — Gallup

The most recent Gallup unemployment survey reported that the unadjusted U.S. unemployment rate in mid-August rose from 8.2% at the end of July to 8.3%. The polling firm's seasonally adjusted rate also rose from 8% in July to 8.3% in mid-August.

There was some good news from the survey though. Gallup found that the underemployment rate, which combines part-time workers seeking full-time jobs with the unemployed, has been dropping since April. Gallup attributes the drop to an increase in the number of part-time workers who have found full-time employment. Since May the underemployment rate has dropped by 1%, and Gallup concludes:

Given that the size of the workforce has not declined during the same period, this is a positive sign that in recent months more Americans working part time have found the full-time employment they desire. … While employers are not hiring at rates substantial enough to reduce the unemployment rate, it does appear that they are making full-time opportunities available to part-time workers. Many employers have been hesitant to convert part-time positions to full time as they waited to see how the economic recovery would play out. Unemployment remains a chronic problem, but the decline in the underemployment rate may be a positive sign for hiring in the coming months.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Economy, Jobs