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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Gallup Unemployment is back up to 9%! The Sky is Falling!

Gallup Unemployment: What it means and what it doesn't mean.

CNS readers:  Stupid?  Ill-informed?  Easily Manipulated?

CNS and other right-wing rags are blathering on about the Gallup daily poll which shows unemployment "back at 9%". Of course the right-wingers and other Republicans who are parroting this are pleased as punch; They are happy if more Americans are miserable...They are convinced that the more Americans are miserable, the more likely it is that the Republicans can take over the government completely come November and continue the decimation of the middle class while the rich get richer. After all, we all know that the lower the taxes paid by those "job creators", the better it will be for the rest of us.... Oops, sarcasm there. 
Update 2/26/2012:  Not only is CNS either clueless or intent on deceiving their viewers, apparently so is CNN, or at least Jack Cafferty at CNN.  He also had a blurb this past week about "unemployment going back to up 9.0%".   Now his question to his viewers was a bit different.  He asked, "Can Obama Win Reelection if unemployment goes back up to 9.0%?"  That's not quite the same thing as saying "Unemployment has gone back up to 9.0%", but it is clear from the text that Cafferty has no idea what the Gallup poll really shows.  If you do not want to be as clueless as Cafferty or the people at CNS, continue reading.  
What does the Gallup Poll really show?

But the Gallup poll does not actually show what the righties are telling their minions that it shows. The daily Gallup unemployment number is a seasonally UNADJUSTED number based on phone interviews. It does NOT ask the same questions asked by the Census on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics when they determine employment and the official unemployment rate.  Nor  does Gallup select samples of people to question in the same manner that the Census does for the BLS. But the BLS numbers and the daily Gallup numbers DO tend to rise and fall in tandem. 

When you are looking at seasonally unadjusted numbers, you can only compare those numbers to the same numbers a year previously. We all know that January and February are low-hiring times. Holiday workers were laid off in late December/early January, spring workers (landscape people, construction people, seasonal attractions help) have not yet been hired, and the "unadjusted" unemployment rates are always several tenths of a percent higher than the seasonal rates during the first three months of the year. 

But CNS apparently knows that its readers are low-information or just plain stupid, so they don't bother with any of those details.

How do things compare to a year ago?

So what was the Gallup daily unemployment number a year ago, on February 20, 2011? 10.1%. What is the Gallup daily unemployment number today, February 20, 2012? 8.9%.  That's over a full percentage point down. 

What was the BLS unemployment number for February 2011?  It was 8.9%, a full 1.2% lower than the Gallup number. So what might the February 2012 BLS unemployment number be if it follows the same pattern as last year? 7.7%? Could unemployment really fall by six tenths of a percent this month? 

That seems like quite a decline, but, in any event, even the Gallup poll, with which the manipulators at CNS are trying to deceive their stupid readers, shows surprisingly good news.. NOT bad news. 

Update 2/26/2012:  The Gallup unemployment number for February 24, 2011 was 10.3%.  The most recent Gallup unemployment number for February 24, 2012 is 9.2%, a difference of 1.1%.  (In February 24, 2010, it was 10.4%.)  

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