"The news on the employment front has been grim over the past few months as layoffs and payroll cuts have accelerated,” said Roy Krause, president and CEO of Spherion Corp. “But, as our latest Index and January's U.S. consumer sentiment index shows, workers' optimism has slightly increased even in the face of these reports.
"Although difficult to pinpoint the exact cause, overall confidence may have been given a boost due to lower gas prices, a new [presidential] administration and anticipation of a stimulus plan that promises to create and preserve jobs, as well as a possible extension of emergency unemployment benefits. The one thing that is certain is that the economic recovery won't happen overnight.”
Among the findings in the most recent Index:
• Seven percent of workers believe the economy is getting stronger, up two percentage points from December. At the same time, 67 percent believe the economy is getting weaker, compared to 75 percent in December.
• Seventy-six percent of U.S. adult workers believe there are fewer jobs available, a decrease of two percentage points from the previous month.
• Sixty-seven percent of U.S. adult workers feel confident in the future of their current employer, up one percentage point from December.
• The percentage of U.S. adult workers confident in their ability to find a new job increased three percentage points to 42 percent in January.
• Seventy-two percent of U.S. workers say it is unlikely they will lose their jobs in the next year, unchanged from December.
• Thirty-four percent of workers are likely to look for a new job in the next year, an increase of one percentage point from the previous month.
Confidence by Gender
• The percentage of female workers reporting that the economy is getting weaker decreased nine percentage points to 68 percent, while the percentage of males believing this decreased by seven percentage points to 66 percent in January.
• Male and female workers' confidence in their ability to find a new job rose in January to 45 percent and 38 percent, respectively.
• For the first time since November, male and female workers differ on their likelihood to look for a new job in the next 12 months. Thirty-seven percent of male workers report that they are likely to look for a new job in the next year, up from 33 percent last month. Only 31 percent of female workers report the same, down from 33 percent.
Confidence by Age
• Despite overall increases in confidence reported in January, workers over 45 years old are still the least confident about the strength of the economy, with 70 percent of workers between the ages of 45 and 54 and 75 percent of workers over 55 years old reporting that the economy is getting weaker.
• Workers over 55 years old continue to be the most confident in the future of their current employer, with 71 percent reporting confidence in January. Seventy-five percent of these workers also report that they are unlikely to lose their jobs in the next year, highest across all age groups.
• Unchanged from December, workers age 18 through 34 are still the most likely to look for a new job in the next year, with 45 percent reporting that they are likely to do so. Only 22 percent of workers age 55 and over are likely to look for a new job, making them the least likely age group to transition jobs in the next year.
Confidence by Income
• Thirty-seven percent of workers earning less than $35K expressed confidence in their ability to find a new job, compared to 46 percent of workers earning $75K and over.
• Fifty-eight percent of workers earning less than $35K expressed confidence in the future of their current employer, up from 48 percent last month, compared to 72 percent of workers earning $75K and over. The disparity in confidence between workers in these income brackets is also reflected in their views of job security with only 57 percent of workers earning less than $35K reporting that they are unlikely to lose their jobs, and 78 percent of workers earning $75K and over reporting the same.
• Forty-nine percent of those with incomes less than $35K are likely to look for a new job in the next year, compared to 28 percent of those with incomes ranging from $50K-$74.9K.