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GALLUP: U.S. Quality Job Outlook in 2015 Best Since 2007

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In 2015, an average of 42% of Americans said it was a good time to find a quality job. This is the most positive assessment of the job market since 2007, and up substantially from averages near 10% from 2009 through 2011.

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Gallup began asking this question in August 2001 and has asked it monthly since October 2001. The annual average saying it is a good time to find a quality job has been higher than 40% only three times, in 2006, 2007 and now in 2015. Optimism about quality job prospects dropped dramatically between 2007 and 2008 and bottomed out at an average of 10% in 2009. Each year since then, job market assessments have improved at least slightly. The largest increase was evident this past year, during which unemployment levels have been the lowest the government has measured since 2007.

On a monthly level, the percentage of Americans who said it was a good time to find a quality job reached as high as 45% in January andSeptember 2015, slightly below the all-time high of 48% in January 2007. In the latest monthly measurement from Dec. 2-6, 44% of Americans say it is a good time to find a quality job.

Perceived Job Prospects Better in 2015 Than in 2014 for All Key Subgroups

Among all major subgroups, the percentage saying it is a good time to find a quality job was higher in 2015 than it was in 2014, with nearly every group showing a double-digit increase.

One’s political affiliation greatly influences assessments of the job market, as a majority of Democrats (53%) say now is a good time to find a quality job, compared with 32% of Republicans and 40% of independents. Democrats have also shown a larger increase in “good time” ratings since last year than Republicans and independents.

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Blacks and Hispanics are more likely to say it is a good time to find a quality job than whites. And younger Americans are more likely to be optimistic than older Americans. However, party identification could be influencing these differences, as younger Americans and nonwhites are more likely to be Democrats. Higher-income Americans, those with a college degree, men and working Americans remain most likely to say it is a good time to find a quality job. Perceptions of the job market improved across the board, rather than among only a few groups.

Bottom Line

The increase in the percentage of Americans who say it is a good time to find a quality job aligns with improvements in other Gallup economic measures. The Gallup Good Jobs rate has been slightly higher most months in 2015 than in comparable months in the past few years. Moreover, Gallup’s Job Creation Index has been steady at a record high for most of 2015. Additional Gallup measures show that other aspects of the economy may still be fragile, however. Average consumer spending remains higher than Gallup found in 2009 through 2012 but has yet to cross the $100 threshold last reached in 2008. Americans’ perceptions of the economy generally are down significantly from where they were at the end of last year and the beginning of this year. While the job market in the U.S. looks far better than it did in the aftermath of the Great Recession, not all economic measures have recovered to prerecession levels.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.