Unemployment in the U.S. rose to nine percent in mid-February, up from 8.3 percent a month earlier, according to a new Gallup survey. The polling company said this suggests that it is “premature” to assume the economy will not feature prominently in the 2012 election season.
“The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February,” Gallup said in its mid-month unemployment survey, released on February 17. “The mid-month reading normally reflects what the U.S. government reports for the entire month, and is up from 8.3% in mid-January.”
Gallup said the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) would likely report a rise in the official unemployment rate in early March, when it publishes its February figures.
Gallup’s mid-month figures are not seasonally adjusted, and so may not predict the official unemployment rate precisely. However, because Gallup and BLS both conduct their unemployment surveys at the same time – in the middle of the month – Gallup’s early figures can provide a barometer of where the official rate is likely headed.
“Gallup’s mid-month unemployment reading, based on the 30 days ending Feb. 15, serves as a preliminary estimate of the U.S. government report, and suggests the Bureau of Labor Statistics will likely report on the first Friday of March that its seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased in February,” Gallup said.