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Gallup: American Optimism About Quality Jobs Hits 17-Year High

Gallup: American Optimism About Quality Jobs Hits 17-Year High
(Dreamstime)

Tuesday, 09 January 2018 03:41 PM

American optimism about finding a “quality job” reached a 17-year high in 2017 as unemployment fell to the lowest since the turn of the millennium, researcher Gallup said in a report.

More than half of people surveyed, 56 percent, said it was a good time to find a quality job last year, compared with only 42 percent in 2016. The U.S. unemployment rate fell from an average 4.9 percnt in 2016 to 4.4 percent in 2017, the lowest rate since 2000.

Republican optimism helped to fuel the overall rise. The monthly reading for Republicans saying it was a good time to find a quality job rose 20 percentage points to 64 percent after Donald Trump was inaugurated and ultimately ended 2017 at 78 percent.

“When the unemployment rate is low, public perceptions that it is a good time to find a quality job rise,” Gallup said in a statement. “Conversely, when the unemployment rate is high, views of the job market get worse.”

Prior to this year, Americans' assessments of the job market were most positive in 2007 (43 percent) at the start of the Great Recession and least positive its last year, 2009 (10 percent). Since the job market bottomed out in 2009, Americans' ratings of it have improved steadily, rising to the highest level yet in 2017.

Positivity about jobs among all U.S. adults began to rise on a monthly basis since January 2017, reaching 54 percent since February 2017. By the end of 2017, it hit 62 percent in November and again in December.

While the shift in Republicans' view of the job market was dramatic after Trump's election and inauguration, the change in Democrats' opinion of the job market following Barack Obama's exit from the White House was more modest.

"This was perhaps because the general consensus at the time was that the economy and job market were in poor shape," Gallup said. "Shortly after Trump took office, the percentage of Democrats who said it was a good time to find a quality job fell 10 points to 45 percent, and was 50 percent last month."

Demographic Differences

Several demographic groups were less inclined than others to think 2017 was a good time to find a job, including those who were out of work and trying to find a job, blacks and those in households earning less than $30,000 a year. These are typically Democratic groups and less than half of each of them assessed the job market positively in 2017.

Those employed full time, college graduates and those with annual household incomes of $75,000 or more are among the demographic groups that are most likely to say it is a good time to find a quality job. The assessments of the job market by each of these groups improved by double digits from 2016 to 2017. Additionally, the greatest increase in perception on this issue is among whites (21 points), respondents 50 and older (20 points) and men (18 points), all typically Republican groups.

Americans in the lowest household income bracket and those unemployed and searching for work are undoubtedly discouraged by their personal situations and therefore are less likely to see it as a good time to find a quality job, even though the unemployment rate is at its lowest point since 2000.

Likewise, black Americans, who experienced record unemployment in December, think the job market is worse than do whites and Hispanics. Yet, unlike those with annual household incomes under $30,000 and the unemployed who are looking for work, blacks and Democrats have grown significantly less positive about the availability of quality jobs since Trump became president. These were the only groups that in 2017 showed a decline in positive ratings compared to 2016.

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American optimism about finding a "quality job" reached a 17-year high in 2017 as unemployment fell to the lowest since the turn of the millennium, researcher Gallup said in a report.
gallup, optimism, jobs, labor
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2018-41-09
Tuesday, 09 January 2018 03:41 PM
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