WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate (P2P), as measured by Gallup, was 44.5% for the month of April, up from 43.4% in March. This is the highest P2P rate so far in 2013, but is still more than a percentage point lower than the 45.7% seen last October, the highest P2P rate Gallup has measured since it began tracking employment in 2010.
Gallup's P2P metric is an estimate of the percentage of the U.S. adult population aged 18 and older who are employed full time by an employer for at least 30 hours per week. P2P is not seasonally adjusted.
These results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with more than 30,000 Americans conducted April 1-30 by landline and cellphone. Gallup does not count adults who are self-employed, working part time, unemployed, or out of the workforce as payroll-employed in the P2P metric.
Because of seasonal fluctuations, year-over-year comparisons are helpful in determining the degree to which monthly changes are due to seasonal hiring patterns versus the result of growth in permanent full-time positions. The 44.5% recorded in April is a healthy improvement over previous years. P2P stood at 43.6% in April 2012, 43.3% in April 2011, and at 43.1% in April 2010.
Seasonally Unadjusted Unemployment Declines in April
Unlike Gallup's P2P rate, which is a percentage of the total population, traditional employment metrics, such as the unemployment rates Gallup and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, are based on the percentage of the workforce. Gallup defines the "workforce" as adults who are working or are actively looking for work and available for employment. The U.S. workforce participation rate in April was 68.5%, an increase over both March 2013 (67.7%) and last April (67.5%).
Gallup's unadjusted unemployment rate for the U.S. workforce was 7.4% for the month of April, down more than half a point since March 2013, and nearly a one-point drop from April 2012. This is the second-lowest monthly employment rate Gallup has measured since it began tracking employment in 2010. The lowest monthly unemployment rate Gallup has found is 7.0%, in October 2012.
Gallup's seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate for April was 7.8%, unchanged from March 2013, but down almost a full point compared with April 2012. Gallup calculates a seasonally adjusted employment rate by applying the adjustment factor the government used for the same month in the previous year. Last year, the government adjusted April's rate upward by 0.4 percentage points, while March was adjusted downward by 0.2 points. This explains the lack of change in the adjusted employment rate, despite the decline in the unadjusted number.
Underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, was 17.5% in April, unchanged from March, but down from 18.2% in April 2012.
Gallup's U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed with the percentage of those who are working part time but looking for full-time work.
The percentage of workers working part time but wanting full-time work was 10.1% in April, an increase from March, but little changed since April 2012's 9.9%.
Gallup's April employment numbers showed the first clear month-over-month improvement since the fall of 2012, when unemployment dropped to a new low and P2P was at an all-time high. Although employment has not yet returned to that level, unemployment and P2P both improved in April to their best numbers of 2013.
Employment fluctuates seasonally, and the increase in employment in fall 2012 was likely the result of holiday hiring. Hiring also increases in the spring, when construction and farming begin to add more jobs, and an improvement was to be expected in April. The lack of change in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate also indicates that much of the improvement might have been the result of seasonal hiring. However, the April 2013 numbers are a significant improvement over April 2012, which is a promising sign that real progress is being made in reducing joblessness.
Given that Gallup's seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate -- the closest comparison it has to the official numbers released by the BLS -- remained flat, the BLS will likely report no change in the unemployment rate when the official numbers are released on Friday morning. However, the unemployment rate as reported by the BLS each month does not always track precisely with the Gallup estimate, in large part due to differences in the adjustment procedure the BLS uses, and because of some differences in the way in which data are obtained.
Gallup.com reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in Gallup.com stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:
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Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Apr 1-30, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 30,552 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone numbers are selected using random digit dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit www.gallup.com.