The U.S. Payroll to Population employment rate, as measured by Gallup, was 44.1% in January.
This is statistically similar to the 44.3% measured in December, but it is the highest measurement of P2P for any January since Gallup began tracking the metric in 2010.
January is typically one of the lowest months for P2P in any year.
The workforce participation among U.S. adults rose slightly from 66.3% in December to 66.7% in January. Since January 2010, the workforce participation rate has ranged narrowly between lows of 65.8% and highs of 68.5%. But since mid-2013 it has most often registered below 67%.
The small uptick this past month may be another positive sign that a strengthening economy is bringing discouraged workers back into the workforce, but workforce participation does remain below the 2010-2014 average.
Gallup's unadjusted U.S. unemployment rate rose 1.3 percentage points to 7.1% in January, similar to the 1.2-point rise last January.
Unlike Gallup's P2P rate, which is a percentage of the total population, traditional employment metrics -- such as the unemployment rates Gallup and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report -- are based on the percentage of the workforce.
The rise in unemployment that Gallup recorded in January is partly attributable to seasonal effects -- unemployment always rises in January both in BLS figures and in Gallup's measures since 2011.
January's rise in unemployment is also partly related to the rise in the number of Americans who were previously considered out of the workforce and who are now looking for new jobs. This is one scenario where a rise in unemployment may be considered "good news" economically, as more of the adult population becomes motivated to seek work even if they may not have found it quite yet.
Gallup's measure of underemployment in January is 15.8%, up from the level registered in December, but still lower than what Gallup has measured in prior years. Gallup's U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed (7.1%) and those who are working part time but desire full-time work (8.8%); these two figures add to 15.8% due to rounding. While Gallup's measure of unemployment rose in January, the percentage working part time but who want full- time work fell slightly at the same time, resulting in a smaller half-point increase in the underemployment rate.