host of conservative politicians and business leaders, led by former GE CEO Jack Welch, accused President Obama of manipulating the September jobs report to his own benefit, after the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate had fallen below 8 percent for the first time in nearly four years. The September rate, 7.8 percent, was the lowest since Obama took office in January 2009. Well, those jobs report "truthers" might want to reach for the antacids: Now Gallup says the jobless rate has dropped even lower, hitting 7.3 percent (or 7.7 percent, seasonally adjusted) in mid-October. Is unemployment really that low?
This should quiet the truthers: Gallup's numbers make it appear the unemployment rate is collapsing, says Joe Wiesenthal at Business Insider. Not only is this rate the lowest since the pollster began collecting jobs data in 2010, but the 7.7 percent seasonally adjusted rate is down from September and a full percentage point lower than in October 2011. At the very least, this is "more evidence that the official 7.8 percent unemployment rate is not the wild outlier people initially thought."
"Gallup: The unemployment rate is collapsing"
The Gallup report isn't cause for celebration: Yes, this lifts some doubt cast on the government's latest figures, says John Johnson at Newser. But "not all the news is rosy" in the survey. Gallup puts "the percentage of part-time workers who would rather work full time at 9.0 percent in October, up from 8.6 percent the previous month." Gallup says those are temporary, seasonal hires mostly, which dampens the reasons for celebrating.
"Gallup thinks unemployment is falling, too"
The short-term good news masks huge long-term problems: This being an election year, everyone's focused on the unemployment rate, says Dan Steinbock at CNBC, but each modest decline masks the "real story," which is the vast numbers of Americans who have given up on finding a job entirely. So many jobs have vanished since December 2007 that the share of the population with a job has plunged from 63 to 59 percent, the lowest since the mid-1980s. "U.S. labor markets are changing — and not for the better," no matter what the latest jobless number is.
"America's unemployment cliff"
- The 10 worst-reviewed movies of 2013
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- Watch The Daily Show mock the NSA and the gamers they're spying on
- How did Love Actually become so controversial? A theory
- 7 enduring lessons from It's a Wonderful Life
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The secrets of happy families
- How does chocolate milk stack up as a sports drink?
- 32 TV shows to watch in 2013 [Updated]
- Is the rent really too damn high?
Subscribe to the Week