The most recent Gallup unemployment survey reported that the unadjusted U.S. unemployment rate in mid-September fell from 8.1% in August to 7.9%. The polling firm's seasonally adjusted rate remained flat at 8.1%.
If the mid-month rate holds, it would mark the lowest reading since Gallup began collecting this data in January 2010. In September 2011, the unadjusted unemployment rate was 8.6%.
The percentage of Americans working part-time but continuing to seek full-time employment fell from 9% in August to 8.6% in September. That's down from 9.7% at this time last year and the lowest level since November 2010, when the number was 8.4%.
The number of underemployed Americans also fell, from 17.1% in August to 16.6% in mid-September. That is significantly lower than the 18.3% reading in September 2011 and the lowest level since January 2010.
Gallup suggests that the uptick in employment is due to the seasonal impact of Halloween, now a major sales period for U.S. retailers:
In fact, the 0.2 seasonal adjustment that the government applied in September 2011 would suggest virtually all the improvement is seasonally related. Further, Gallup's unadjusted unemployment rate has remained between 7.9% and 8.2% since May - implying a relatively flat job market. Still, the mid-September unadjusted unemployment rate, if maintained for the remainder of the month, is at a new low and is substantially below the 8.6% of a year ago.
As an indicator of the September unemployment rate that the government will announce in early October, the results Gallup reported today suggest no change to last month's official adjusted unemployment rate of 8.1%.
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