Gallup Sees Unemployment Down Slightly in May

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According to its latest survey, Gallup reports that the unadjusteUS unemployment rate fell from 8.3% in April to 8.2% in mid-May. The research firm’ mid-month survey on unemployment has tracked official Bureau of Labor Statistics data pretty closely except for this past February and April, when Gallup data has indicated a slightly better unemployment rate than the official numbers.

The latest report indicates that the US economy continues to grow at a slow pace, but perhaps more troubling, the percentage of US workers who participate in the workforce fell from 67.8% in March to 67.5% in mid-May. As workers drop out of the workforce, unemployment rates fall to reflect the lower participation rate.

Based on Gallup’s report, there’s little reason to expect a significant drop — or jump — in official US unemployment data when it comes out early next month. Gallup appears to be correct that companies hired new employees earlier this year and that the traditional April and May bump in new jobs has already happened. Unfortunately, there is not a lot of optimism about hiring over the summer either, even though the number of workers should increase and the unemployment rate should fall. But big improvements don’t appear to be on the horizon.