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Economy

Younger U.S. Workers Most Likely to Report Workplace Hiring

by Andrew Dugan
Younger U.S. Workers Most Likely to Report Workplace Hiring

Story Highlights

  • Majority of 18- to 29-year-old workers say employer is hiring
  • Likelihood to say firm is hiring decreases with age

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. workers between the ages of 18 and 29 are significantly more likely than older workers to report working for companies that are hiring new people. Gallup's Job Creation Index -- a measure of net hiring activity in the U.S. -- is +43 among younger workers. This finding is much higher than the +30 among those aged 30 to 49, +21 among those aged 50 to 64 and the much lower +14 for workers aged 65 and older.

Gallup Job Creation Index, by Age

These findings come from aggregated Gallup data collected from January to April 2015, involving interviews with more than 65,000 full- or part-time workers. Gallup's Job Creation Index is based on the percentage of workers who say that their place of employment is hiring minus the percentage who say it is letting workers go. The index has been relatively static for the first four months of 2015, averaging +29. In April, it reached +31, its highest score so far this year.

But whatever the pace of job expansion nationwide, young American workers are the most likely of any age group to report that their companies are expanding. A slim majority, 52%, in this youngest age group say their employer is hiring new people and expanding the size of its workforce, while fewer than one in 10 (9%) say their employer is letting people go and reducing the workforce size. The percentages in other age groups who say that their employer is hiring are nowhere near majority status. Workers aged 30 to 49 are about as likely to say their employer is hiring new people (42%) as say their place of employment is not changing its workforce size (40%). For those aged 50 and older, however, the most common response is that their employer is neither decreasing nor increasing its workforce.

U.S. Workers' Reports of Job Conditions Where They Work, by Age

One potential explanation for these findings is tied to young people's likelihood to be recent hires themselves. While the Gallup Daily tracking data do not measure how long a worker has been at his or her current job, one could assume that younger workers are more likely to have been hired more recently than older workers simply because of their age. To that point, the median tenure of 20- to 24-year-old workers was 1.3 years in 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, while 45- to 54-year-old workers had been with their current employer for a median of 7.9 years. In other words, because young people are more likely to have recently sought new employment opportunities, they have naturally ended up at organizations and firms that are expanding their workforces.

More generally, younger Americans tend to be more positive than older Americans about the economy -- particularly on forward-looking measures. This positivity is evident in younger versus older Americans' confidence in the national economy and reports of their standard of living.

Bottom Line

Young American workers are more likely than any other age group to report that they work for employers who are hiring. In some sense, this may be repetitious: Young employees are more likely to be recent hires, so it is only fitting they should find themselves at firms that are hiring. It is also true that young Americans appear to have a cheerier disposition about the economy, according to Gallup's measures.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Jan. 2-Apr. 30 2015, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 65,873 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, who are employed . For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

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