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Europeans See Poor Job Market

In most countries, pluralities say it is a bad time to find a job

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Few Europeans in 2011 said it was a good time to find a job in the city or area where they live. A median of 12% of residents across the 27 countries Gallup surveyed were positive about the local job outlook, while a median of 80% said it was a bad time. Greeks were the least optimistic, with 2% saying it was a good time to find a job, and Germans were the most optimistic, with 50% saying it was a good time.


Positive Gains Made in Some Countries

Germans' opinions of the job market are the most favorable in the region and have improved markedly from the low of 16% saying it was a good time to find a job in 2009. As the largest economy in Europe and one of the largest in the world, Germany's economic success is crucial to the region's economic stability. As Europe threatens to enter recession, and confidence in the job climate falters, the positive momentum in Germany is one encouraging sign from the region. Momentum is also positive in Austria, Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Denmark, and France, with all six countries posting double-digit improvement within the last two years.


Still, residents in 25 of the 27 countries are more likely to say it is a bad time than a good time to find a job. These findings underscore not only the pessimism that people feel in the countries hardest hit in the eurozone crisis, such as Greece, but also the wider economic struggle across the EU.

Residents in Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Ireland, and Spain are the least optimistic about the job climate, with the percentages saying it was a good time to find a job in the single digits. Perceptions did not improve much between 2009 and 2011, highlighting the continued economic woes.


These findings mirror perceptions in the broader region. Before the global economic crisis, a median of 29% in 20 countries** that Gallup has pre- and post-recession trends for said it was a good time to find a job. The percentage declined to 7% in 2009 and inched back up to 10% in 2011.


While Europeans in a few countries perceive small gains in the job climate, majorities in most countries remain pessimistic about the job opportunities in their communities. The debt crisis continues to plague countries such as Greece and Ireland, and unemployment remains near historic highs in many countries such as Spain. Gallup's data reflect the economic fragility of the region and the difficulties that those in the hardest-hit countries face as they struggle toward economic reform and recovery.

** Trended data are based on results from 20 European countries: United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Sweden, Greece, Denmark, Austria, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, and Slovenia.

For complete data sets or custom research from the more than 150 countries Gallup continually surveys, please contact or call 202.715.3030.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews with approximately 1,000 adults, aged 15 and older, per survey administration. In 2009, approximately 500 interviews were conducted in Cyprus, Estonia, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, and Slovenia. Interviews were conducted in 27 European countries during 2011.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error in 2011 ranged from a low of ±3.5 in Estonia to a high of ±4.5 in Austria. In 2009 the sampling error ranged from a low of ±3.4 in Bulgaria to a high of ±5.5 in Ireland. In 2007 the sampling error ranged from a low of ±3.1 in Estonia, Greece, and Latvia to a high of ±3.6 in Netherlands and Romania. The margin of error reflects the influence of data weighting. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of survey data.

For more complete methodology and specific survey dates, please review Gallup's Country Data Set details.

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