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March 6, 2011 / J. Shaw

Gallup: Unemployment Rate Really at 10.3 Percent

The U.S. unemployment rate hit 10.3 percent in February, up from 9.8 percent at the end of January, according to the Gallup polling agency. The rate of those considered to be underemployed, meanwhile, reached 19.9 percent last month, up from 18.9 percent at the end of January, Gallup says. Results are based on a 30-day rolling average Read more: Gallup: Unemployment Rate Really at 10.3 Percent

The numbers show little change from the end of February 2010, when Gallup’s unemployment rate hit 10.4 percent.

“There is essentially no difference between the unemployment rate now and the one at this time a year ago; January’s rate, in contrast, showed a 1.1-percentage-point year-over-year improvement. This suggests that the real U.S. jobs situation worsened in February. That is, jobs are relatively less available now than in January,” the polling agency says.

The government’s latest official unemployment rates stood at 9 percent for January.

Some say unemployment rates are due to fall.

“With firms already extremely lean in terms of staffing, they will have no choice but to hire en masse if, as I expect, economic activity continues to pick up,” says Stephen Stanley, chief economist for Pierpoint Securities, the Washington Post reports

Meanwhile, the number of people seeking unemployment benefits last week plunged to a nearly three-year low, according to the Associated Press.

Applications for unemployment benefits fell by 20,000 to a seasonally adjusted 368,000, the Labor Department says.

Applications are now at their lowest level since May 2008


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