The number of people who are unemployed or underemployed has begun to rise for the first time since last spring. This may be a sign that the economic slowdown that began sometime in the second quarter has begun to have a substantial impact on the jobs market. Recent Labor Department unemployment statistics have indicated that the jobs market expanded very slowly through the summer.
Second quarter GDP was under 2%, and many economists believe that the economy will do no better than that in the last half of the year. Concerns about a “double dip” recession may have caused many American companies to hold off adding new workers.
The latest Gallup employment poll shows that “Unemployment increased to 9.4% in mid-September from 9.3% in August and 8.9% at the end of July. This finding makes it far more unlikely that there will be a significant decline in the U.S. unemployment rate prior to the midterm elections.” Total underemployment, which includes those out of work and those who work part-time but seek full-time jobs, is now 18.9%
More than 9% of Americans with part-time jobs still seek full-time jobs. This number has lingered above 9% almost all year and was 9.2% in mid-September, according to Gallup.
Government employment numbers for September, which will come out early next month, could actually show that unemployment is worsening and that an economic recovery becomes less likely by the day.
Certain groups are faring worse than the national average. Thirty percent of Americans aged 18 to 29, 24% of those with no college education, and 22% of women are underemployed so far in September.
“Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking Aug. 16-Sept. 15, 2010, with a random sample of 18,057 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.”
Douglas A. McIntyre
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