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U.S. Gallup Good Jobs Rate 46.5% in August

U.S. Gallup Good Jobs Rate 46.5% in August

by Ben Ryan
U.S. Gallup Good Jobs Rate 46.5% in August

Story Highlights

  • GGJ rate edges down from record high in July
  • Unemployment at 5.4% in August
  • Workforce participation at 67.4%, in line with recent months

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Gallup Good Jobs (GGJ) rate in the U.S. was 46.5% in August, down from the record high 47.1% reached in July, but still higher than any other monthly rate Gallup has recorded since measurement began in 2010. GGJ typically peaks in the midsummer months of June and July and begins to fall in August, so this decrease is in line with the typical seasonal pattern. The current rate is also 1.2 percentage points higher than in August 2015, suggesting an underlying increase in full-time work that goes beyond seasonal changes in employment.


The GGJ metric tracks the percentage of U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, who work for an employer full time -- at least 30 hours per week. Gallup does not count adults who are self-employed, work fewer than 30 hours per week, are unemployed or are out of the workforce as payroll-employed in the GGJ metric. The Gallup Good Jobs metric does not take into account factors such as job satisfaction or salary level, but merely reflects full-time employment for an employer. The latest results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with 30,424 U.S. adults, conducted Aug. 1-31 by landline telephone and cellphone. GGJ is not seasonally adjusted.

Gallup first measured the GGJ rate in January 2010, a time of high unemployment. At that time, 42.5% of Americans were employed full time by an employer. GGJ fell as low as 41.7%, in February 2011, but improved over the next few months. Before this year, the high point was 45.7% in October 2012.

Workforce Participation at 67.4% in August

The percentage of U.S. adults in August who participated in the workforce -- by working full time, working part time or not working but actively seeking and being available for work -- was 67.4%. This is down nominally from 67.8% in July but is in line with the rates recorded since April of this year.


Unemployment at 5.4%

Gallup's unadjusted U.S. unemployment rate was 5.4% in August, up nominally from July's 5.1%, which was the lowest for any month in Gallup's six-year trend. This month's rate is almost a full point below the 6.3% recorded in August 2015. Gallup's U.S. unemployment rate represents the percentage of adults in the workforce who did not have any paid work in the past seven days, either for an employer or for themselves, and who were actively looking for and available to work.


Unlike the Gallup Good Jobs rate, which is a percentage of the total population, the unemployment rates that Gallup and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) report are percentages of the labor force. While both Gallup and BLS data are based on surveys with large sample sizes, the two have important methodological differences -- outlined at the end of this article. Additionally, the most-discussed unemployment rate released by the BLS each month is seasonally adjusted, while Gallup reports unadjusted numbers. Although Gallup's unemployment numbers strongly correlate with BLS rates, the BLS and Gallup estimates of unemployment do not always track precisely on a monthly basis.

Underemployment Up at 13.2%

Gallup's measure of underemployment in August was 13.2%, up nominally from 12.7% in July but still the second lowest Gallup has recorded to date. Gallup's U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed (5.4%) with those who are working part time but desire full-time work (7.7%). These numbers add to 13.2% due to rounding. Underemployment was around 20% when Gallup started measuring it more than six years ago.


Bottom Line

July 2016 was a record month for Gallup's employment trends, with the highest GGJ, the lowest unemployment and the lowest underemployment rates recorded since January 2010, when Gallup began consistently measuring these. The August numbers are slightly weaker compared with July, but are expected given normal seasonal patterns. Still, they are among the strongest employment numbers Gallup has recorded. GGJ remains much higher year over year, while unemployment and underemployment are still near their lowest points in over six years.

The data in this article are available in Gallup Analytics.

How Gallup's Unemployment Measure Differs From the U.S. Government's Measure
GALLUP U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Population 18 and older 16 and older
Adjustments Not seasonally adjusted Seasonally adjusted
Sample size 30,000 individuals per month 60,000 households per month
Mode of interview RDD telephone, including cellphones Rotating panel with face-to-face and telephone interviewing
Data collection period Continuous One-week reference period during mid-month
Reporting frequency Daily, weekly, and monthly, based on 30-day rolling averages Monthly, based on one-week reference period
Gallup reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly and monthly averages and in stories. Complete trend data are always available to view in the following charts:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence and Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Weekly: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Read more about Gallup's economic measures.

View our economic release schedule.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 1-31, 2016, on the Gallup Daily tracking, with a random sample of 30,424 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, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how Gallup Daily tracking works.

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