PRINCETON, NJ -- The addition of hundreds of thousands of temporary census takers to the job rolls has muddied the U.S. employment picture. Gallup's June finding that 85% of Americans believe now is a "bad time" to find a "quality job" -- a trend showing modest improvement since January -- may better reflect the real jobs situation in the U.S.
While still high, the percentage of Americans saying now is a bad time to find a quality job is at its lowest point since October 2008. At the same time, the 13% saying now is a "good time" -- though remaining low -- is at its highest point since January 2009. Overall, the total lack of optimism about the prospects of finding a quality job in June 2010 is consistent across ages, incomes, genders, and regions of the country.
Gallup's Job Creation Index, as well as its underemployment measure, suggest that the jobs situation in the U.S. has been improving somewhat, at least when not seasonally adjusted. However, part of this improvement is probably the result of the hiring of temporary census workers, who have boosted the job rolls recently, but who will need to find new jobs as the summer unfolds.
Although the U.S. needs job creation, no matter the job, what is most needed are new, quality jobs with increased job security that will lead to increased consumer spending. Although this situation has improved modestly since January, perceptions of a lack of quality jobs remain at a high level. The Gallup trend may be a good metaphor for the real trends in the U.S. job market overall -- more modest improvement than many had hoped for, but consistent with a slower-than-expected economic recovery.
Results for this USA Today/Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 11-13, 2010, with a random sample of 1,014 adults, aged 18 and older, living in the continental U.S., selected using random-digit-dial sampling.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones (for respondents with a landline telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell phone-only). Each sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone-only respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, education, region, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in continental U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.
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.
For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit http://www.gallup.com/.