The Labor Department will not release its official number until next week, but Gallup is predicting that the agency will report that unemployment rose half a point to 8.8 percent in February. Gallup's Dennis Jacobe explains:
Data from the past two years show that on an unadjusted basis, Gallup’s and the government's unemployment measurements track fairly closely in both direction and magnitude. ... If we assume the government’s unadjusted unemployment rate experienced a similar 0.5-point increase, it would rise to 9.3% in February from January’s 8.8%. Applying the 0.5-point seasonal adjustment (based on the government’s February 2011 adjustment) to the February 2012 unadjusted rate (9.3%) would result in an increase in the U.S. seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to 8.8% in February 2012 from January’s 8.3%.
Gallup also reports that, according to their polling, the unadjusted U.S. employment rate (as measured without seasonal adjustment) was 9.1 percent in February. Jacobe fully acknowledges that the Obama Labor Department may again "adjust" its survey results to give Obama a lower unemployment number, as it did in January. But Jacobe concludes,"that report will not change the reality in the marketplace."