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Americans See Best Quality Jobs Market in U.S. in Five Years

Americans See Best Quality Jobs Market in U.S. in Five Years

Twenty-six percent say now is a good time to find a quality job

by Dennis Jacobe

PRINCETON, NJ -- Twenty-six percent of Americans say now is a good time to find a quality job -- the highest since March 2008. This is also up from 22% in March and from 21% a year ago, but not much different than the 25% who said the same in January.

Trend: Thinking about the job situation in America today, would you say that it is now a good time or a bad time to find a quality job?

At the same time, 71% say now is a bad time to find a quality job, down from 74% in March and about on par with the 70% in January. At least eight in 10 Americans believed it was a bad time to get a quality job during all of 2009 through 2011, and for many months in 2012. Seventy-seven percent said it was a bad time to find a quality job a year ago.

Trend: Thinking about the job situation in America today, would you say that it is now a good time or a bad time to find a quality job? % Bad time

Democrats Most Positive About Ability to Find a Quality Job

Democrats have been and remain the most optimistic that now is a good time to find a quality job, at 36%, more than twice the 17% of Republicans saying the same. Independents' views are closer to the Republicans' views, at 23%.

Liberals, at 32%, are more likely than conservatives, at 22%, to say this is a good time to find a quality job. Moderates, at 27%, are in the middle, as is often the case -- five percentage points better than conservatives and five points below liberals.

Good Time or Bad Time to Find a Quality Job, by Political Party and Ideology, April 2013

Nonwhites and those aged 18 to 29, at 40% each, are among the most optimistic about finding a quality job in April, as was the case in January. There are few differences by gender, education, and location.


Gallup's quality job measure provides a somewhat different window into the U.S. job market than do most other employment statistics. Generally speaking, most of the jobs created in recent years have been concentrated in low-paying, low-skilled jobs. As a result, many Americans see the availability of quality jobs as highly limited. From this perspective, the fact that Americans' perceptions of the availability of quality jobs are at a five-year high is positive for job seekers and the overall U.S. economy.

On the other hand, that one in four Americans think it is a good time to find a quality job and most still think it isn't reflects not only slow economic growth, but also differences by industry. For example, Americans involved in the energy industry may see quality jobs as readily available, while those in banking and finance may not do so.

In this regard, the fact that there are few differences in quality job perceptions by education may be significant. Having a good education may not be enough to guarantee a quality job in the difficult job market of 2013. Instead, quality job seekers may be required to have not only a good education, but one that matches the jobs available in the select areas of rapid growth in today's U.S. economy.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted April 4-7, 2013, with a random sample of 1,005 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 margin of sampling error is ±4 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 of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas 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 to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, 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 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. 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.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

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