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U.S. Payroll to Population Employment Up to 44.8% in June

U.S. Payroll to Population Employment Up to 44.8% in June

by Jenny Marlar and Elizabeth Mendes

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate (P2P), as measured by Gallup, improved to 44.8% in June, up from 43.9% in May -- and the highest P2P rate so far in 2013, as well as the highest rate measured in eight months.

U.S. Payroll to Population Employment Rates

Despite the recent improvement, the P2P rate in June is essentially the same as it was in June 2012, when it stood at 44.9%, indicating that few payroll jobs have been added compared with a year ago. Year-over-year comparisons are helpful in determining the degree to which monthly changes are the result of growth in permanent, full-time positions rather than normal fluctuations in seasonal hiring, and therefore it should be noted that the P2P rate increased in June 2012 just as it has this year, suggesting that a June uptick may be a seasonal or regular phenomenon.

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 June 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.

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 (BLS) report, are based on the percentage of the workforce. Gallup defines the "workforce" as adults who are working or actively looking for work and available for employment. The U.S. workforce participation rate in June was 68.5%, unchanged from 68.4% in May, and little changed versus June 2012 (68.2%).

Unadjusted Unemployment Rate Static in June

Gallup's unadjusted unemployment rate for the U.S. workforce was 7.8% in June, statistically similar to the 7.9% in May, and the 8.0% in June 2012.

Gallup's seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate for June, however, was 7.6%, down from 8.2% in May. Gallup calculates a seasonally adjusted employment rate by applying the adjustment factor the BLS used for the same month in the previous year. Last year, the government adjusted June's rate down by 0.2%, but adjusted May up by 0.3%, which accounts for the large decline in the adjusted rate, despite the lack of change in the unadjusted number. The precise adjustment used by the BLS for June this year will not be known until the release of its report this Friday.

Adjusted & unadjusted unemployment rate trend

Underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, was 17.2% in June, down from 18.0% in May, and down modestly from 17.5% in June 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.

U.S. Underemployment Rate, Monthly Averages

The decline in underemployment came primarily from a decline in the percentage of people working part time but wanting full-time work. The percentage of part-time workers wanting full-time work fell to 9.4% in June, from 10.1% in May, but is similar to the 9.5% found in June 2012.

Percentage of U.S. workers working part time but wanting full-time work, monthly averages

Bottom Line

Gallup's seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate -- the closest comparison it has to the official numbers released by the BLS -- improved more than half a percentage point in June. This decrease was due primarily to the shift from an upward seasonal adjustment Gallup used in May to a downward adjustment in June. The underlying unadjusted unemployment rate was basically flat from May to June.

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 other methodological differences between the two surveys.

Gallup's broader measure of the employment situation in the country -- its Payroll to Population employment rate -- did improve in June, due to more part-time workers moving into full-time jobs. However, P2P remains unchanged compared with June 2012 -- meaning there likely has not been a lot of real growth in the job market over the past year.

Gallup's U.S. unemployment measures, June 2013

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 1-30, 2013, on the Gallup Daily tracking survey, with a random sample of 30,463 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. Cellphones 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

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