Unemployment Rising Again?

The Gallup organization reported today that its mid-February survey found unemployment increasing to 9%:

The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February, up from 8.6% for January. The mid-month reading normally reflects what the U.S. government reports for the entire month, and is up from 8.3% in mid-January.

That is a very sharp jump, probably due in part to seasonal factors, and it is a little hard to believe that the official, seasonally-adjusted number that comes out in a couple of weeks will increase by as much. This graph puts today’s news in context and is a valuable overview, especially when you keep in mind that Gallup continues to find an additional 10% of Americans are underemployed:

What I really want to comment on, however, is the conclusion of Gallup’s report:

Further, it suggests that it is premature to assume the condition of the economy will not remain a major issue for Americans both financially and politically in 2012.

Premature? I should say so! It is hard to imagine how anyone could think that the years of economic misery we have endured under Obama will somehow fail to be a major campaign issue in 2012. Yet, make no mistake–the liberal media will do everything possible to make this the conventional wisdom: the economy is improving, so that’s off the table. Let’s make the election about the social issues, killing bin Laden, and how nice it is to have an African-American president! Republicans can trump that effort–the voters will not have forgotten what the Obama years have been like–but only if they keep a laser-like focus on the economy, and don’t let the media narrative distract them.

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