Thursday, June 2, 2016

Gallup U.S. Good Jobs Rate Keeps Climbing

The Gallup Good Jobs  rate in the U.S. was 45.5% in May, the highest rate for May since Gallup began measuring it in 2010.

The GGJ metric tracks the percentage of U.S. adults, aged 18 and older, who work for an employer full time -- at least 30 hours per week. Gallup does not count adults who are self-employed, work fewer than 30 hours per week, are unemployed or are out of the workforce as payroll-employed in the GGJ metric.

The latest results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with 31,503 U.S. adults, conducted May 1-31 by landline telephone and cellphone. GGJ is not seasonally adjusted.

The GGJ average rate for the first five months of 2016 is 44.8% -- 0.7 percentage points higher than the average for the five-month start to 2015 and more than a full point higher than the January-May averages for any of the previous five years. The growth of the monthly rate and of the rate for the year so far suggests an underlying increase in full-time work beyond the seasonal changes in employment.

This is not what a recession looks like.



  1. During the same time period, the BLS labor force participation rate went from about 65 to under 63, which is a generational low not seen since about 1978 and far from the highs seen in the 67 range around the year 2000.

    Could you please reconcile the two methodologies for us? The BLS data is clearly recessionary.

    1. Found the answer here:

      "Gallup Good Jobs is calculated as a percentage of the total population. Daily results reflect 30-day rolling averages based on telephone interviews with approximately 30,000 adults aged 18 and older. Because results are not seasonally adjusted, they are not directly comparable to numbers reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which are based on workers aged 16 and older."

      On related note the measure above has simply not been around long enough for us to judge if the trend is more meaningful than the value. In various indicators as I've pointed out here before the values have only clawed up to the bottoms of previous recessions. This may or may not be one of them.

    2. The data is reconciled by the fact that the labor force is growing slower than the population for demographic reasons and not because of a lack of "good jobs." Participation rate = labor force/population while good jobs ratio = good jobs/population. The good jobs ratio is growing because "good jobs" are growing faster than the population and the participation rate is falling because the labor force is growing slower then the population. The labor force has grown 3.5% since 2010 while the working age population has grown 5.4%.