The problem with the unemployment metric is that an additional 6.6% report being “underemployed,” meaning they are left out of the 8.1% unemployed because they have part-time work but wish they were employed full time; they’re not classified as “unemployed.” They’re not in the 8.1% everyone’s watching, and this makes things complicated. Nearly 15% underemployed, including the unemployed, is much more accurate and significant than the single 8.1%.
My big point here is that the current U.S. unemployment metric is an over-complicated mess and misleads smart American leaders and citizens. Bluntly, we don’t honestly know when we see the government’s unemployment data if the employment situation got a little better or a little worse.
Gallup has a solution and breakthrough. We will start reporting Payroll to Population employment rates (P2P) every day on our website as of today. We will use a big sample of 30,000 completed telephone interviews in the U.S. and compute a new global employment metric that will be pure and unadjusted.