By William Tate
The Gallup Organization had some bad news for Barack Obama on Friday. It's not that Obama fell behind Mitt Romney by two points in Gallup's daily tracking poll, although that couldn't have helped the the O-Team's spirits heading into the weekend. Between now and the election, polls are likely to be less stable than Joe Biden's thought process.
The really bad news for the Chicago mob is that Gallup's unemployment survey shows the Obama economy is getting even worse. Gallup reported an uptick in joblessness in their latest survey of 30,000 households.
"(T)his suggests that the government's unadjusted unemployment rate could increase to 8.7% ... The government's measurement of the unadjusted unemployment rate has been known to differ with Gallup's findings, but a drop of 0.3% ... is necessary to bring the government's unadjusted rate down to Gallup levels."
However, the figure that is most commonly used in reporting joblessness is the Bureau of Labor Statistics's (BLS's) seasonally adjusted rate. Of that rate, Gallup notes:
"More interestingly, there were no BLS seasonal adjustments in August 2011. If this remains the same in 2012, the Gallup seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August would be 8.3% while that of the BLS would be 8.7%, assuming a similar increase to that shown in the Gallup data."
That would represent a .4% increase over last month's numbers and would raise the official government jobless rate dangerously close to 9%.
"Further, Gallup's data show the labor force participation rate to be increasing in August. In turn, that could have an additional negative impact on the unemployment rate for August if the government's data show a similar pattern."
Gallup hints that only something like manipulation of data will prevent the BLS from reporting a substantial increase in unemployment.
"Regardless, barring heroic adjustments or a sharp change in direction, Gallup data suggest the seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate for August will increase -- possibly substantially -- when announced in early September." (emphasis added)
As previously noted, Gallup pointed out that last year's August data was not adjusted. It will be interesting to see if the BLS decides to adjust their data this year.
The BLS has generally enjoyed a favorable reputation. However, under the Obama gang, economists have begun to scratch their heads over some of the numbers produced. Last month, for instance, the Bureau's payroll survey of employers reported the economy added a slightly better than expected number of jobs, but the BLS also reported that the unemployment rate actually increased. That's because its separate survey of 60,000 households, the one that most closely matches Gallup's, reported that 200,000 fewer folks had jobs in July.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics will report its August unemployment figures, the next-to-last report before the November election, on September 7th -- about the time many people start giving the election serious thought. It's been said that the campaign doesn't start until after Labor Day.
With Gallup reporting on Friday that 1 in 4 American workers are either unemployed or underemployed -- not counting the millions of folks who've given up looking for work -- this is simply devastating news for the guy who said he'd be a one-termer if he didn't fix the economy. Or would be if it's reported.
Look for it to be buried, though.
Instead we're likely to see coverage of how many years of his taxes Romney should release, or the differences between Romney's and Paul Ryan's budget proposals, or Obama campaign stops, or, say, Hillary's hairdo. Anything but the one thing that just about everybody predicted would be the central issue heading into this election.
There used to be an old joke that, if you wanted to distract somebody, you'd point in the air behind them and say, "Look, it's the Goodyear blimp!"
So, when you hear or read about Romney's taxes, or Ryan's budget, or even gaffe-a-minute Biden's latest mis-statement, it's the media's way of pointing over your shoulder and trying to convince you that there's a certain dirigible back there.
Don't fall for it. It's a trick.
William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author