Home Budget, Economy Gallup: Unemployment Down to 7.1%, Economic Confidence Highest Since 2008

Gallup: Unemployment Down to 7.1%, Economic Confidence Highest Since 2008


I’m not sure what to make of Gallup’s polling on the presidential race (I definitely think they’re off base in their likely voter model), but generally speaking their economic survey numbers have been reasonable (see the graph at the right, compare to BLS numbers, and decide for yourself). Certainly, if nothing else, the trend lines have been consistent – down, from about 9.1% in January 2011 to under 8.0% (seasonally adjusted) in September 2012.

Now, with one more BLS report scheduled for release prior to next Tuesday’s election, Gallup’s showing a 7.1% unemployment rate (not seasonally adjusted), the lowest since Gallup started daily tracking of unemployment in January 2011. Comparing apples to apples, Gallup’s non-seasonally-adjusted unemployment percentage was at  7.9% at the end of September. As of yesterday, again, it was at 7.1%, a drop of 0.8 percentage points in just a few weeks. If – and it’s a big if – the BLS numbers track the Gallup numbers, the implication is that there could be a significant drop in the official unemployment rate (although of course BLS seasonally adjusts its numbers, so that complicates matters). Anyway, we’ll see, and I hate to get hopes up, but if Gallup’s at all on target, then the trend in the unemployment rate over the past month has been downwards – and not by an insignificant amount, either!

Meanwhile, as if that’s not good enough news, Gallup is reporting this morning that their economic confidence index is now at its “highest level…since Gallup began Daily tracking of economic confidence in 2008.”

Finally, one last piece of good economic news: U.S. home prices rose “in August in nearly all U.S. cities, and many of the markets hit hardest during the crisis are starting to show sustained gains. The increases are the latest evidence of a steady housing recovery.”

So remind me, with all this positive economic news (note: I haven’t even mentioned the fact that the stock markets have approximately doubled since they crashed starting in late 2008), why on earth would we switch from President Obama’s leadership and go back to the irresponsible policies that helped get us into the mess in the first place?!?

P.S. Just to put the unemployment numbers in perspective, according to BLS, the rate was 7.8% in January 2009, when President Obama took over (late in the month). Given that it takes a few months AT BEST for a new president’s policies to be passed and start kicking in, and given that we were shedding jobs fast as the economy melted down starting in late 2008 (when Bush was still president), I think it’s fair to start counting Obama’s record with regard to unemployment in mid 2009 (9.5% rate in June-July of that year).


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