Seven in 10 Americans consider their job situation today “just as stable” or “more stable” than last year, according to the March 2010 American Express Spending & Saving Tracker. The Tracker also indicates this feeling of job stability often leads to higher spending.
Most Consumers Feel Stable at Work
Fifty-four percent of Americans consider their current job situation “just as stable” as last year. Another 16% consider it “more stable,” for a combined 70% of Americans who report having some level of job stability. In contrast, 24% consider their current job situation “less stable” than last year.
Young professionals in particular are experiencing high levels of job stability. Thirty-four percent of respondents in this group report having more job stability, compared to 14% of affluents and 16% of the general population. Fifty percent of young professionals report having the same level of job stability, more in life with the general population (54%) and affluents (60%).
Stability Equals Spending
In good news for marketers, a majority of consumers who report having higher levels of job stability also report increased spending. Sixty percent of respondents reporting they have more job stability have increased their spending and investments. Popular areas for increased spending include discretionary categories such as dining out (35%) and travel (31%).
Consumers Prepare for the Worst
Despite feeling secure in their jobs and spending habits, almost three out of four respondents (71%) have a financial backup plan. The vast majority of young professionals (88%) and affluents (81%) reported having a plan as well.
Employment Shows Signs of Improvement
As reported by Retailer Daily, recent trends in U.S. employment levels indicate that some level of stability may be returning in the country’s job market. After hitting double digits from October-December 2009, the official U.S. unemployment rate stayed flat at 9.7% in February 2010. The economy shed 36,000 non-farm payroll jobs, a moderate increase from 20,000 the previous month but still a significant decrease from the 85,000 lost in December 2009.
In addition, the privately produced Conference Board Employment Trends Index (ETI) rose 0.3% in February 2010, from 93.2 to 93.5. This marks the sixth straight month the ETI has risen, signifying job growth.
More significant than the ETI’s modest monthly gain is the 13.4% annual growth rate it has posted during the past six months, since jumping 0.3% from 88.2 to 88.5 in September 2009. This is the ETI’s highest six-month growth rate since 1994.
The American Express Spending & Saving Tracker research was completed online among a random sample of consumers aged 18 and older. The research sample of 2,089 adults surveyed the general U.S. population, as well as two sub-groups – the affluent and young professionals. Interviewing was conducted by Echo Research February 19-25, 2010.
Affluent respondents are defined as having a minimum annual household income of $100,000. Young professional respondents are defined as less than 30 years of age, having a college degree, and a minimum annual household income of $50,000.