Americans’ Ratings of the Job Market in Their Region at Highest Level Since 2008

    NEW YORK , N.Y. – August 26, 2014 – The economy’s a funny thing, as it exists – and can be perceived differently – at so many levels. From world to nation to region, all the way down to your own household, reading economic tea leaves can have a great deal to do with where you’re standing. And while ratings of President Obama’s handling of the economy are holding steady, regional economic indicators are showing signs of improvement.

    These are some of the results of The Harris Poll¨ of 2,537 adults surveyed online between August 13 and 18, 2014.

    This month, three in ten Americans (30%) give President Obama positive ratings for his handling of the economy, while seven in ten (70%) give him negative ratings. This is even with last month, but down slightly from this point in the President’s first term (August 2010), when 32% of Americans gave the President positive marks on the economy and just over two-thirds (68%) gave him negative ratings.

    Looking ahead, one-fourth (25%) of U.S. adults expect the economy to improve in the coming year, while 46% expect that it will remain the same and roughly three in ten (29%) expect it to get worse. Expectations that it will both improve and that it will worsen have grown since June (when these levels were at 22% and 26%, respectively), while fewer Americans expect things to stay the same (down from 51% in June)

    Closer to home

    Looking at the home front, half of Americans (51%) say they expect their household’s financial condition to remain the same in the next six months, while just under one-fourth (24%) expect it to be better and one-quarter (25%) say that it will be worse. Compared to July, this represents a slight improvement as 23% of Americans felt things would be better last month and (26%) said things would be worse; the expectation that things would remain the same was identical, at 51%.

    Regional job market

    Turning to the job market in one’s own region, the perception that it’s good (26%) is on the rise – not just in comparison to the 20% who rated it good in March (the last time the question was asked), but in comparison to every data point since January 2009. That’s not to say the news is all good: while the 41% of Americans rating the job market in their region as bad is down from March, as well as from any other time since 2008, they still outpace the good ratings by a wide margin. Additionally, one-third of U.S. adults (34%) rate the current job market in their region neither good nor bad.

    Looking to the next six months, over a fourth of Americans (27%) believe the job market in their region will get better within that time, up from under a fourth in March (23%). Two in ten U.S. adults (20%) believe it will be worse, down slightly from 22% in March. Meanwhile, just over half (53%) believe it will remain the same, a slight decrease from 55% in March.

    As one might expect, regional outlooks vary by – you guessed it – region. Westerners (29%) are the most likely to say the current job market in their region is good, while their Eastern counterparts (21%) are least likely to do so. Looking at the next six months, those in the Midwest and in the South (22% each) are more likely than those in the West (15%) to anticipate the job market in their region will get worse.

    To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit the Harris Poll News Room.

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    TABLE 1

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – TREND

    Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    2010

    March

    April

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Mar

    Apr

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    47

    49

    46

    43

    39

    40

    34

    36

    31

    32

    33

    36

    32

    32

    29

    27

    31

    30

    Excellent

    13

    13

    10

    3

    9

    7

    6

    6

    5

    5

    6

    6

    5

    6

    5

    5

    5

    5

    Pretty good

    34

    36

    36

    34

    31

    33

    27

    30

    25

    27

    27

    30

    27

    26

    24

    22

    26

    25

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    53

    51

    54

    57

    61

    60

    66

    64

    69

    68

    67

    64

    68

    68

    71

    73

    69

    70

    Only fair

    30

    27

    30

    27

    25

    27

    30

    30

    31

    30

    31

    29

    32

    29

    31

    33

    30

    34

    Poor

    23

    24

    24

    30

    36

    33

    37

    34

    39

    37

    36

    34

    37

    39

    40

    39

    39

    36

    2011

    2012

    2013

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    Feb

    Mar

    Apr

    June

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    33

    33

    33

    32

    27

    26

    21

    23

    22

    25

    25

    32

    32

    36

    33

    39

    35

    33

    29

    30

    30

    29

    Excellent

    7

    9

    5

    7

    5

    3

    2

    3

    3

    4

    2

    3

    5

    4

    6

    6

    5

    5

    4

    5

    6

    4

    Pretty good

    26

    24

    28

    26

    22

    23

    18

    20

    20

    22

    22

    29

    27

    32

    27

    32

    31

    28

    28

    25

    24

    25

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    67

    62

    67

    68

    73

    74

    79

    77

    78

    75

    75

    68

    68

    64

    67

    61

    65

    67

    71

    70

    70

    71

    Only fair

    30

    22

    29

    28

    30

    33

    33

    36

    32

    34

    34

    30

    29

    26

    26

    26

    29

    29

    31

    28

    29

    30

    Poor

    37

    39

    38

    40

    43

    41

    46

    41

    46

    41

    41

    38

    39

    38

    41

    35

    36

    38

    40

    42

    41

    41

    2014

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    Apr

    May

    June

    July

    Aug

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE (NET)

    28

    31

    31

    32

    35

    32

    30

    30

    Excellent

    5

    4

    5

    5

    5

    7

    7

    6

    Pretty good

    23

    27

    26

    27

    29

    25

    23

    25

    NEGATIVE (NET)

    72

    69

    69

    68

    65

    68

    70

    70

    Only fair

    30

    29

    27

    29

    26

    28

    27

    31

    Poor

    42

    40

    42

    39

    39

    40

    43

    39

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding; In February 2012 Not at all sure was offered as a response choice and 4% responded in that way.

     


     

    TABLE 2

    PRESIDENT OBAMA’S JOB RATING ON THE ECONOMY – By Political Party and Generation

    Now, turning to something different, how would you rate the overall job that President Barack Obama is doing on the economy?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Generation

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Millennials

    (18-37)

    Gen X

    (38-49)

    Baby

    Boomers

    (50-68)

    Matures

    (69+)

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    POSITIVE

    30

    7

    56

    23

    34

    32

    28

    25

    Excellent

    6

    2

    12

    2

    7

    7

    4

    4

    Pretty good

    25

    5

    43

    21

    28

    24

    24

    21

    NEGATIVE

    70

    93

    44

    77

    66

    68

    72

    75

    Only fair

    31

    21

    33

    36

    37

    28

    31

    20

    Poor

    39

    73

    12

    40

    29

    41

    41

    55

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     

     

    TABLE 3

    EXPECTATIONS FOR HOUSEHOLD FINANCIAL CONDITION IN NEXT SIX MONTHS

    Thinking about your household’s financial condition, do you expect it to be better or worse in the next 6 months?

    Base: All adults

    2013

    2014

    Feb

    Mar

    April

    May

    June

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    July

    Aug

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    23

    21

    22

    26

    24

    24

    19

    18

    20

    23

    22

    21

    24

    23

    23

    24

    Much better

    3

    3

    4

    5

    4

    5

    4

    3

    4

    4

    4

    4

    5

    4

    6

    6

    Somewhat better

    20

    17

    18

    20

    20

    19

    15

    15

    16

    18

    19

    17

    20

    19

    18

    18

    Will remain the same

    50

    49

    49

    50

    53

    49

    52

    48

    50

    49

    52

    52

    52

    54

    51

    51

    WORSE (NET)

    27

    30

    28

    24

    23

    26

    29

    34

    30

    29

    26

    27

    23

    23

    26

    25

    Somewhat worse

    20

    21

    20

    18

    17

    18

    21

    24

    19

    19

    18

    19

    17

    17

    18

    17

    Much worse

    7

    9

    8

    6

    6

    9

    8

    11

    11

    10

    8

    8

    7

    7

    8

    8

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding;

     

    TABLE 4

    EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – TREND

    In the coming year, do you expect the economy toÉ?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    2010

    April

    May

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    39

    38

    46

    40

    34

    38

    30

    29

    28

    30

    34

    29

    Stay the same

    35

    35

    32

    36

    37

    34

    42

    39

    40

    40

    41

    45

    Get worse

    26

    27

    22

    24

    29

    28

    28

    32

    32

    30

    25

    26

    2011

    2012

    2013

    Feb

    June

    July

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Dec.

    Feb.

    Dec.

    Feb.

    March

    April

    May

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    34

    26

    23

    21

    20

    23

    36

    33

    32

    30

    29

    32

    Stay the same

    42

    41

    41

    45

    46

    47

    40

    31

    40

    37

    41

    42

    Get worse

    25

    33

    37

    34

    34

    29

    24

    36

    28

    33

    29

    25

    2013

    2014

    June

    July

    Aug.

    Sept.

    Oct.

    Nov.

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    June

    Aug

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    32

    29

    27

    22

    22

    25

    27

    26

    26

    24

    26

    22

    25

    Stay the same

    41

    44

    42

    46

    37

    44

    42

    44

    43

    45

    48

    51

    46

    Get worse

    27

    27

    31

    32

    41

    32

    32

    30

    32

    31

    27

    26

    29

    Note: Percentages may not add up exactly to 100% due to rounding

     

     

    TABLE 5

    EXPECTATIONS FOR THE ECONOMY IN THE COMING YEAR – By Political Party and Generation

    In the coming year, do you expect the economy toÉ?

    Base: All adults

     

    Total

    Political Party

    Generation

    Rep.

    Dem.

    Ind.

    Millennials

    (18-37)

    Gen X

    (38-49)

    Baby

    Boomers

    (50-68)

    Matures

    (69+)

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    Improve

    25

    13

    40

    18

    25

    22

    25

    25

    Stay the Same

    46

    43

    45

    50

    54

    49

    39

    39

    Worsen

    29

    44

    15

    33

    21

    29

    36

    36

    Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding

     


     

    TABLE 6

    RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – TREND

    How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?

    Base: All adults

    2008

    2009

    2010

    June

    July

    Jan

    April

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Mar.

    April

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    28

    30

    6

    12

    9

    8

    10

    10

    8

    9

    10

    8

    10

    Neither good nor bad

    18

    19

    18

    20

    19

    21

    22

    20

    18

    19

    20

    18

    21

    BAD (NET)

    53

    51

    76

    68

    72

    71

    68

    70

    73

    72

    70

    73

    70

    2010

    2011

    May

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    July

    Sept

    Oct

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    12

    10

    12

    10

    13

    11

    13

    13

    15

    13

    16

    12

    11

    9

    Neither good nor bad

    20

    25

    22

    21

    21

    23

    24

    22

    24

    22

    23

    24

    22

    24

    BAD (NET)

    68

    66

    66

    69

    66

    66

    63

    65

    61

    65

    61

    64

    67

    67

    2012

    2013

    2014

    Jan

    March

    Feb

    Aug

    Oct

    Jan

    March

    Aug

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    14

    20

    21

    23

    20

    21

    20

    26

    Neither good nor bad

    21

    24

    31

    31

    32

    31

    32

    34

    BAD (NET)

    65

    56

    48

    46

    48

    48

    47

    41

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

     

     

     

    TABLE 7

    RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION – BY REGION

    How would you rate the current job market of your region of the nation?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Region

    East

    Midwest

    South

    West

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    GOOD (NET)

    26

    21

    24

    27

    29

    Very good

    4

    3

    3

    5

    5

    Somewhat good

    21

    18

    21

    22

    24

    Neither good nor bad

    34

    37

    33

    33

    32

    BAD (NET)

    41

    41

    44

    40

    39

    Somewhat bad

    26

    28

    28

    24

    26

    Very bad

    14

    13

    16

    15

    13

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    TABLE 8

    EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS – TREND

    How do you think that the job market in your region of the nation will change over the next 6 months?

    Base: All adults

    2009

    2010

    Jan

    April

    June

    Aug

    June

    Aug

    Sept

    Oct

    Nov

    Dec

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    15

    23

    21

    28

    26

    23

    21

    23

    30

    25

    Will be much better

    1

    3

    2

    2

    1

    2

    2

    3

    2

    2

    Will be somewhat better

    14

    20

    19

    26

    25

    21

    19

    20

    28

    23

    Will remain the same

    36

    42

    47

    47

    53

    49

    53

    53

    50

    54

    WORSE (NET)

    49

    36

    32

    25

    21

    27

    26

    24

    21

    22

    Will be somewhat worse

    36

    29

    24

    19

    15

    22

    20

    18

    15

    16

    Will be much worse

    14

    7

    8

    6

    6

    5

    6

    6

    6

    6

    2011

    2012

    2013

    2014

    Jan

    Feb

    Mar

    May

    July

    Jan

    March

    Feb

    Aug

    Oct

    Jan

    Mar

    Aug

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    31

    31

    32

    30

    22

    27

    33

    28

    25

    20

    24

    23

    27

    Will be much better

    4

    4

    2

    4

    2

    2

    3

    2

    3

    1

    2

    2

    3

    Will be somewhat better

    26

    27

    30

    26

    20

    25

    30

    26

    22

    19

    21

    21

    24

    Will remain the same

    51

    51

    52

    49

    53

    53

    50

    52

    52

    53

    53

    55

    53

    WORSE (NET)

    18

    18

    16

    21

    25

    21

    17

    19

    24

    27

    23

    22

    20

    Will be somewhat worse

    13

    13

    11

    14

    17

    14

    11

    15

    17

    19

    16

    16

    14

    Will be much worse

    6

    5

    6

    7

    8

    7

    6

    5

    7

    8

    7

    7

    6

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

     

     

    TABLE 9

    EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION OVER NEXT SIX MONTHS – BY REGION

    How do you think that the job market in your region of the nation will change over the next 6 months?

    Base: All adults

    Total

    Region

    East

    Midwest

    South

    West

    %

    %

    %

    %

    %

    BETTER (NET)

    27

    26

    24

    26

    31

    Will be much better

    3

    4

    2

    3

    5

    Will be somewhat better

    24

    22

    23

    23

    26

    Will remain the same

    53

    54

    53

    52

    54

    WORSE (NET)

    20

    20

    22

    22

    15

    Will be somewhat worse

    14

    14

    15

    14

    11

    Will be much worse

    6

    6

    7

    8

    4

    Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding

     

     


     

    Methodology

    This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 13 and 18, 2014 among 2,537 adults (aged 18 and over). 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.

    All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words margin of error as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

    Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

    These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

     

    The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

     

    The Harris Poll¨ #81, August 26, 2014

    By Larry Shannon-Missal, Manager, Harris Poll Content

    About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

    On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll. Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.