With Election Over, Unemployment Sky Rockets
What do you know — the election is over and now unemployment shoots up. How convenient. And, just wait until the November and December numbers come in with all of the newly unemployed following President Obama’s reelection.
Buckle up, folks. The ride is just beginning.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was 7.8% for the month of November, up significantly from 7.0% for October. Gallup’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.3%, nearly a one-point increase over October’s rate.
These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews, conducted by landline and cell phone, with approximately 30,000 Americans throughout the month — 67.2% of whom are active in the workforce. Gallup calculates a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate by applying the adjustment factor the government used for the same month in the previous year. Last year, the government adjusted the November rate upward by 0.5 percentage points.
It is unclear what caused the increase in the unemployment rate in November, although some experts speculate that it was caused by jobs lost as a result of superstorm Sandy. It is also possible that lackluster holiday hiring is to blame.
Although the increase in the unadjusted rate in November is a sharp contrast to the 0.9-point decline seen in October, November’s 7.8% rate is still tied for the second-best unadjusted unemployment monthly reading of 2012. However, on an adjusted basis, November’s rate is the highest reading in six months. Looking at year-to-year comparisons, seasonally adjusted unemployment is down from 8.9% in November 2011.
Underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, was 17.2% in November, a 1.3-point increase since the end of October. The uptick in November also puts an end to the six-month trend of improvements or no change. Still, underemployment has improved 0.9 points since November 2011.
Gallup’s U.S. underemployment measure combines the percentage who are unemployed with the percentage of those working part time but looking for full-time work. Gallup does not apply a seasonal adjustment to underemployment.
The increase in underemployment is the result of an increase in the number of people unemployed as well as the number of people working part time but wanting full time work, which rose to 9.4% in November from 8.9% in October. The number of workers wanting full-time positions generally increases during the holiday season as more people take on part-time seasonal work. Compared with this time last year, the percentage of workers desiring additional work is down a modest three-tenths of a point.
Unemployment Lowest for College Grads, Whites, Men, and Older Workers
Unemployment rates continue to be lowest for college grads (4.0%), Americans aged 50 to 65 (5.5%), whites (6.5%), and men (6.6%). At the other end of the spectrum, unemployment remains higher than 10% for blacks (12.4%), 18- to 29-year-olds (12.0%), people with a high school education or less (11.4%), and Hispanics (10.6%).
Regionally, Americans living in the South face the highest unemployment rates, while Midwesterners have the lowest levels of unemployment. The Labor Department recently reported that superstorm Sandy produced a large uptick in the number of underemployment claims being filed in the East, especially from New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Gallup’s data found that unemployment rose 1.2 points in the East between October and November. However, Gallup’s U.S. unemployment rate rose by the same amount in the Midwest and went up a similar 0.8 points in the South — indicating that Sandy isn’t entirely to blame. Unemployment declined 0.2 points in the West.
Gallup’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate — the closest comparison it has to the official numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics — increased in November, suggesting that the BLS will report another increase when it releases its numbers Friday. It is possible that some of the November increase in unemployment is the result of scaled-back holiday hiring, in which case the BLS may apply a smaller adjustment factor than it has in the past.
Although the employment situation has improved over the past year for Americans as a whole, it is apparent that more must be done to improve job opportunities for many specific groups, especially young Americans and blacks, who continue to experience the highest unemployment levels.
The increase in unemployment in November is a change from the positive momentum seen in recent months. However, it is also possible that October’s dramatic improvement was temporary, and November’s reading is a continuation of the earlier trend. The trend in future months will be an important indicator of the true momentum of the job climate.by