WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Nearly one in four Americans (24%) say it is a good time to find a quality job, triple the 8% who said the same a year ago and reflecting the most positive job market perceptions since March 2008.
While nearly three in four Americans (73%) continue to say it is a bad time to find a quality job, the current job market perceptions reflect significant improvement compared with the post-financial crisis era and even before. Americans' views have not been this positive since March 2008, before the financial crisis but still during the U.S. recession, when 26% of Americans said it was a good time to find a quality job. The record high since Gallup began tracking this measure in 2001 came in January 2007, when 48% of Americans said it was a good time to find a quality job.
Regionally, Americans in the West (31%) and East (28%) are more positive about current job conditions, while those in the Midwest (22%) and South (19%) are less positive.
U.S. workers -- whether employed or unemployed and seeking work -- are also more positive about the market for quality jobs than they have been in months. Currently, 26% say it is a good time to find a quality job, up from a record low of 7% a year ago.
Improvement Coincides With Upticks in Economic Confidence and Job Creation
Americans' rosier job market perceptions coincide with recent improvements in broader economic confidence, as tracked by Gallup's Economic Confidence Index, and employee reports of hiring, as tracked by Gallup's Job Creation Index. Both of these measures have improved significantly this year and in recent months compared with the same time last year.
On both job market perceptions and economic confidence more broadly, Democrats and independents are much more positive than Republicans, indicating that politics play a role in these views. Currently, 30% of Democrats and 28% of independents say it is a good time to find a quality job, more than doubling the 12% of Republicans who say the same.
Americans are now more positive about the market for quality jobs than they have been at any time since the global economic collapse, perhaps contributing to or resulting from their more positive assessment of the economy more broadly. These changes may reflect Americans' recognition of improvement in the U.S. unemployment rate as well as Democrats' increased satisfaction with the way things are going in the country following the U.S. presidential election. It is also possible that U.S. workers are more positive about the job market based on the expanded hiring they see in their own place of employment, as measured in Gallup's Job Creation Index.
It remains to be seen the extent to which the debate in Washington over how to address the upcoming fiscal cliff will affect economic and job climate perceptions going forward. On the one hand, the discussion over tax cuts and government spending is not directly tied to the job climate. However, previous episodes of gridlock and division in Washington have depressed economic confidence, which could in turn depress Americans' attitudes about the job market.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 15-18, 2012, with a random sample of 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points.
For results based on the sample of 527 employed adults or unemployed adults looking for work, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±5 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cellphone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. 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, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2011 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older population living in U.S. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.
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 https://www.gallup.com/.