Unemployment in the U.S. rose to nine percent in mid-February, up from 8.3 percent a month earlier, according to a new Gallup survey. The polling company said this suggests that it is “premature” to assume the economy will not feature prominently in the 2012 election season.

Gallup figures typically provide an indication of what the government will report at the end of the month.

“The U.S. unemployment rate, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, is 9.0% in mid-February,” Gallup said in its mid-month unemployment survey, released on February 17. “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.”

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