Americans Express Job Pessimism

September 13, 2010

This article is included in these additional categories:

Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Data-driven | Government & Politics | Staffing

Substantial majorities of Americans think the current job market is bad, according to a recent Harris Poll.

West Feels Worst
Two-thirds of overall Harris Poll respondents (66%) say the current job market of their region is bad, 22% say it is neither good nor bad, and only 12% say it is good.

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Broken down by individual region, the West is the most pessimistic about the current state of US employment. Only 8% of Westerners say the current job market is good, while 21% say it is neither good nor bad and 71% say it is bad.

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Looking at these figures in more detail, less than 0.5% of Westerners say the current job market is very good (compared to 2% overall) and 8% say it is somewhat good (compared to 10% overall).

Meanwhile, far more Westerners than overall Americans say the current job market is very bad (35% compared to 28%), enough that slightly fewer say the current job market is somewhat bad (36% compared to 38%).

In contrast, Easterners were the most optimistic regarding the current US job market. Seventeen percent of Easterners say it is good, with 7% saying very good and 10% saying somewhat good. A comparatively low 60% say it is bad, with 41% saying somewhat bad and 19% saying very bad.

East Sees Brightest Future, South Dimmest
When asked to speculate on the state of the US job market in six months, overall 23% of respondents say it will get better (2% much better and 21% somewhat better), 49% say it will remain the same, and 27% say it will get worse (5% much worse and 22% somewhat worse).

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Easterners are most optimistic for the future as well the present, with 29% saying the job market will be better (6% much better and 23% somewhat better) and 24% saying it will be worse (4% much worse and 20% somewhat worse).

Looking ahead, Southerners have the most job pessimism. Only 21% of Southerners say the job market will be better (1% much better and 20% somewhat better), while 32% say it will be worse (7% much worse and 25% somewhat worse).

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Long-term Unemployment Hurts Consumers
Long-term stretches of unemployment can have serious consequence for consumers’ finances, emotional health and career development, according to new data from The Pew Research Center. Of those who have experienced an unemployment spell of at least six months, more than four-in-ten (44%) report that the recession has caused “major changes” in their lives.

By comparison, fewer than one-third (31%) of those who had been unemployed less than six months and 20% of adults who were not unemployed during the recession which began in December 2007 say they were similarly affected.

About the Data: This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 9-16, 2010 among 2,775 adults (aged 18 and older). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

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