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Americans' Assessment of U.S. Job Market Slightly Worse

Americans' Assessment of U.S. Job Market Slightly Worse

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • Thirty-nine percent say it's a good time to find a quality job
  • Percentage saying it's a good time down four points from July
  • Democrats, Republicans both less optimistic about job market

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- About four in 10 Americans (39%) in August say it is a good time to find a quality job. Though this is down slightly from the 43% who said the same last month, the latest figure remains within the 38% to 45% range Gallup has recorded for this question in 2015 and 2016.


Americans' perceptions of the job market's health in 2015 and 2016 show significant improvement compared with their views of it from 2008 to 2013. During that period, the percentage saying it was a good time to find a quality job dipped as low as 8%. Views of job seekers' prospects improved steadily from 2012 to 2014, and have hovered near 40% since.

The latest decrease in the percentage saying it is a good time to find a quality job is within the margin of error for the poll, and comes despite Americans' continuing highs in perceptions of hiring at their place of employment.

It's possible that even as employed Americans see improved hiring situations where they work, Americans as a whole have acquired a slightly more tainted view of the overall job market after taking in the convention rhetoric. Speakers at the Republican convention criticized the job market under Democratic President Barack Obama. And even while praising Obama, speakers at the Democratic convention may have left the impression that the best days are yet to come in terms of job creation.

Both Democrats' and Republicans' views of the job market have taken a hit this month. While nearly a third of Republicans said in July that it was a good time to find a quality job, this number has soured by nine percentage points to 23% in August. Democrats, at 51% this month, have seen a similar drop of eight points. Independents' views are largely unchanged.

Americans who approve of Obama's job performance, as well as those who disapprove of it, are slightly less optimistic about the job market in August than they were last month.

Percentage Saying Now Is a Good Time to Find a Quality Job, by Subgroup
July-August 2016
July 2016 August 2016 Change
% % (pct. pts.)
Republicans 32 23 -9
Independents 40 42 2
Democrats 59 51 -8
Obama: Approve 56 53 -3
Obama: Disapprove 30 24 -6

Bottom Line

Perceptions of the job market's health may not be at their most optimistic, but they are within the range of where they've been for over a year and a half -- and are much brighter than the post-recession lows.

Despite Friday's strong jobs report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans' assessment of the job market has slipped by four points this month, indicating that their views are not always in sync with actual figures on job growth. But if reports continue to show solid job creation, optimism for the job market could eventually catch up.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Aug. 3-7, 2016, with a random sample of 1,032 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, the margin of sampling error is ±4 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 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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