Americans Continue to View Job Market in Very Negative Light

NEW YORK, N.Y. – September 1, 2010 – One of the larger parts of the current economic crisis has been unemployment. In fact, when economists were speaking about economic recovery, they often stated it could be a jobless recovery. Americans feel the employment woes, as two-thirds of them (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.

Looking at it by region, those in the Midwest and West are feeling these employment problems the most. Seven in ten Westerners (71%) and Midwesterners (70%) say the current job market is bad. The job market in the East seems the best as almost one in five Easterners (17%) say it is good while three in five (60%) say it is bad.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,775 adults surveyed online between August 9 and 16, 2010.

Job market in six months

Looking ahead for the job market, there does not seem to be much optimism. When asked how they think the job market in their region will change in the next six months, over one-quarter of U.S. adults (27%) say it will get worse, half (49%) believe it will remain the same and under one-quarter (23%) believe it will get better. Americans were a little more optimistic at the beginning of the summer. In June, just over one-quarter of U.S. adults (26%) said they thought the job market in their region would be better, over half (53%) thought it would remain the same and one in five (21%) believed it would get worse.

Concerns about being unemployed

While they may not think the job market in their area is good, there are mixed concerns among Americans about the main income earner becoming unemployed. Two in five U.S. adults (38%) say they are concerned, with 16% saying they are very concerned and 22% saying they are somewhat concerned that the main income earner in their household will be unemployed in the next six months. However, three in five (62%) are not concerned, with one-third of Americans (32%) saying they are not at all concerned that the income earner in their household will lose their job in the next six months.

So what?

Regardless of any positive indicators for the overall economy, if jobs are always something on people’s minds, Americans will not believe those positive indicators. The high unemployment numbers are something people can see on a regular basis and, while they may not have large concerns about losing their jobs, they know the job market is not good.

 

 

TABLE 1

RATING OF CURRENT JOB MARKET – TREND

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

Base: All adults

2008

2009

June

July

Jan

April

June

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

28

30

6

12

9

8

10

10

8

9

Neither good nor bad

18

19

18

20

19

21

22

20

18

19

BAD (NET)

53

51

76

68

72

71

68

70

73

72

2010

Jan

Mar.

April

May

June

Aug

%

%

%

%

%

%

GOOD (NET)

10

8

10

12

10

12

Neither good nor bad

20

18

21

20

25

22

BAD (NET)

70

73

70

68

66

66

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

 

TABLE 2

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)

12

17

9

14

8

Very good

2

7

1

1

 

Somewhat good

10

10

8

13

8

Neither good nor bad

22

23

21

23

21

BAD (NET)

66

60

70

63

71

Somewhat bad

38

41

41

36

36

Very bad

28

19

29

27

35

Note: Percentages may not add to 100% due to rounding; indicates less than 0.5%

 

TABLE 3

EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN 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

Jan. 2009

April 2009

June 2009

August 2009

June 2010

Aug 2010

%

%

%

%

%

%

BETTER (NET)

15

23

21

28

26

23

Will be much better

1

3

2

2

1

2

Will be somewhat better

14

20

19

26

25

21

Will remain the same

36

42

47

47

53

49

WORSE (NET)

49

36

32

25

21

27

Will be somewhat worse

36

29

24

19

15

22

Will be much worse

14

7

8

6

6

5

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

 

TABLE 4

EXPECTATIONS FOR JOB MARKET IN YOUR REGION IN SIX MONTHS

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)

23

29

22

21

22

Will be much better

2

6

1

1

1

Will be somewhat better

21

23

21

20

21

Will remain the same

49

47

52

47

53

WORSE (NET)

27

24

26

32

25

Will be somewhat worse

22

20

22

25

21

Will be much worse

5

4

5

7

4

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

 

TABLE 5

CONCERN OVER BECOMING UNEMPLOYED

How concerned are you that the main income earner in your household might become unemployed in the next 6 months?

Base: All adults

April 2009

June 2009

Aug 2009

Aug 2010

%

%

%

%

CONCERNED (NET)

43

42

39

38

Very concerned

17

16

14

16

Somewhat concerned

26

27

25

22

NOT CONCERNED (NET)

57

58

61

62

Not very concerned

26

27

28

29

Not at all concerned

31

31

32

32

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

 

Methodology

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 9 to 16, 2010 among 2,775 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, Harris Interactive 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 Interactive 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 the Harris Interactive 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 Harris Interactive.

J38557

Q725, 730, 735

The Harris Poll® #103, September 1, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, Director The Harris Poll