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Monday, September 10, 2012

Get to Know Gallup's Jobs Numbers

The jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics highlighted something we have been discussing for a while on -- that examining the unemployment rate alone does not paint a complete or accurate picture of a nation's employment situation or economic energy.

We know that the unemployment rate is distorted by fluctuations in the size of the workforce and further, that it has no relationship with GDP.

For that reason, Gallup has worked to develop alternate employment metrics -- metrics that focus on quantifying the percentage of people employed in full-time jobs -- that do have a relationship with GDP. 

Since January 2011, we have reported extensively on the percentage of workers in the U.S. and worldwide who are employed full time for an employer. We feel great about this metric because it is comparable in countries worldwide based on rigorous, representative national samples.

However, we also saw the limitations of any metric that is based on the workforce rather than the population.  As such, we decided -- well before last week's BLS report -- to launch a new metric called "Payroll to Population." This metric reports the percentage of the entire population that is employed full time for an employer. It will move when more of the population has solid full-time jobs, period -- regardless of the season or shifts in the size of the workforce. We're tracking it nightly in the U.S. and around the world in every single country where we survey. We hope it will become the new global standard that leaders use to track the true employment situation in their nations.

Here are some findings from our inaugural reports on this metric:

Going forward, we will report on the U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate each Friday coinciding with the Bureau of Labor Statistics report, including on the 2012 dates detailed below, at 8:30 a.m. ET:
  • Oct. 5
  • Nov. 2
  • Dec. 7
We will also provide new global numbers once a year after our annual data set is complete.

Additionally, you can always find the latest country-level figures on our economy and world sub-homepages.

To get each new Payroll to Population story delivered to your inbox as soon as it is published, sign up for Gallup news alerts and select All Gallup Headlines, Economy, or Good Jobs.

If you're a journalist who would like to learn more about this metric, please contact Lauren Kannry at 202-715-3050.


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