Gallup finds U.S. unemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, to be 9.1% in February, based on almost 30,000 interviews with a random sample of Americans. When Gallup applies the 0.5-percentage-point seasonal adjustment that the government applied to its unadjusted data for February last year, it produces an adjusted unemployment rate for February 2012 of 8.6% — a substantial increase from the 8.3% adjusted rate the government reported for January.
The findings provide a preview of what Gallup will report in its monthly employment release next Thursday, March 8. Because Gallup’s data are collected continuously throughout the month, the data are available now, one week ahead of the BLS report scheduled for Friday, March 9.
Three key factors help determine the relationship between Gallup’s measurement of the unemployment rate and the unemployment rate reported by the government. The first involves the relationship between Gallup’s and the government’s unadjusted survey results. Data from the past two years show that on an unadjusted basis, Gallup’s and the government’s unemployment measurements track fairly closely in both direction and magnitude.