- the source for market opinions


August 15, 2015 | BLS vs.Gallup Unemployment Rate – Massive Discrepancies

Mike 'Mish' Shedlock

Mike Shedlock / Mish is a registered investment advisor representative for SitkaPacific Capital Management. Sitka Pacific is an asset management firm whose goal is strong performance and low volatility, regardless of market direction.

The Gallup Daily U.S. Employment , poll estimates unemployment at 6.3% and underemployment at 14.5%.


Gallup cautions: “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 16 and older. Margin of error is ±1 percentage point.”

Actually the numbers can be compared. All one has to do is use the BLS non-seasonally adjusted numbers.

Civilian Unemployment Rate, Not Seasonally Adjusted


Gallup estimates the unemployment rate at 6.3% but the BLS says 5.6%. If anything, the BLS number should be higher than Gallup.


Because Gallup surveys those 18 and older whereas the BLS surveys 16 and older. Given high youth-unemployment, any BLS bias should be higher, not lower.


And please check out the massive difference in underemployment. The BLS says 10.7% while Gallup says 14.5%!



Gallup uses a 30-day rolling average, not seasonally adjusted, and samples 30,000 people for their rolling-average numbers.

The Gallup numbers are more believable than the BLS numbers.

Finally, for comparison purposes, the University of Michigan sentiment survey does a one-time sample a mere 500 people on which it allegedly measures spending habits and the economic health of the entire nation.

For my take on sentiment, please see Sentiment as a Measure of Health of the Economy; Sentiment Theory vs. Practice.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

STAY INFORMED! Receive our Weekly Recap of thought provoking articles, podcasts, and radio delivered to your inbox for FREE! Sign up here for the Weekly Recap.

August 15th, 2015

Posted In: Mish Talk

Post a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All Comments are moderated before appearing on the site


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.