Gallup: Mid-March Underemployment Reaches 20%

Gallup, the polling and research firm, determines underemployment by including both unemployed Americans and those working part-time but who would prefer to be doing full-time work. As the graph below indicates, Gallup research now shows underemployment still trending higher… now reaching 20 percent.


According to

“Gallup’s data suggest that while the U.S. unemployment rate has declined over the past month, the employment gains may be largely taking the form of new part-time jobs…

“The danger associated with focusing on unemployment is … [when] new [part-time] jobs [are] announced by the government in early April, there is likely to be an enthusiastic, possibly even celebratory, response. Government officials are liable to tout the continued benefits of last year’s stimulus and the future benefits of the new jobs bill. Many Wall Streeters will likely argue that the surge in jobs is simply another confirmation of the strength of the overall economic recovery.

“However, before policymakers celebrate too much, they should note Gallup’s recent findings … For example, Gallup’s self-reported spending data show that part-time workers who want full-time work spent on average 24% more per day ($51) during the past 30 days than did the unemployed ($41). While this represents an improvement and is good for the economy, it is not nearly as good as the 85% higher daily spending of those having full-time jobs ($76).”

Of course, it logically follows that full-time workers spend more on a daily basis than do part-time workers and the unemployed. Yet, seeing the actual difference in the dollar amount drives the point home. It highlights how part-time jobs are no replacement for full-time positions. Further, the Gallup findings also show that these new part-time jobs are not likely to turn into full-time positions. Overall, the underemployment picture continues to worsen.

You can read more of the details directly from Gallup in its post on underemployment hitting 20 percent in mid-March.


Rocky Vega,
The Daily Reckoning