PRINCETON, NJ -- U.S. job-market optimism has reached a new low, with only 8% of Americans saying now is a good time to find a quality job -- the lowest level since Gallup began tracking this measure in August 2001. Americans' optimism about this had begun to diminish even before the recession began to unfold two years ago, when 38% in November 2007 were optimistic, and there has been essentially no improvement since February of this year, when 9% held this view.
Little Difference in Optimism by Gender, Region, Income, Education
There are only slight differences in optimism about finding a quality job between men (11%) and women (6%); differences by region range from 4% in the East to 11% in the South.
While 13% of those making less than $30,000 a year are optimistic, 6% of those making between $30,000 and $75,000 hold the same view, along with 9% of those making $75,000 or more.
Finally, 11% of those with a high school education or less are optimistic about finding a quality job, compared to 7% of those with a postgraduate education.
Given today's double-digit unemployment rate, it is not surprising that most Americans are less than optimistic about finding a quality job. Still, the low amount of job-market optimism across genders, regions, incomes, and education levels shows that the current job situation is affecting all Americans. And it helps explain why there is increasing recognition that the combination of underemployed and unemployed represents a much higher percentage of the U.S. population -- one in six Americans, according to government reports, and even more, according to Gallup's estimates.
Although Gallup's Job Creation Index indicates that job-market conditions across the U.S. are a little better than they were six months ago, they remain far worse than they were during the first year of the recession. It is hard to see how consumers will increase their spending or the economy will experience any real recovery on Main Street until there is not only an improvement in job creation, but also a significant increase in the availability of quality jobs.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,008 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 5-8, 2009. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of error is ±3 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).
In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.