U.S. Employment Situation Improves in April, Payroll to Population Up

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By JENNY MARLAR, Gallup— 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.

Payroll to Population employment rate improves; more people going to work. employment trends Two-thirds of the states reported improvement in the unemployment in August 2011 compared with the same month in 2010.

Payroll to Population employment rate improves; more people going to work.

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%.

Implications Of Payroll to Population For Employment

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.

Source: Gallup Economy

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