- 43% think now is a good time to find a quality job, up from 27% in January.
- The current value is still below the final pre-pandemic target of 68%.
- Almost half as many workers as a year ago consider job loss likely
WASHINGTON, DC – Americans are far more positive about the U.S. job market than a year ago, when people in most states lived on couch orders as the coronavirus spread across the country. The percentage of those who think now is “a good time to find quality work” has risen by more than 20 points, and today far fewer working Americans than in 2020 believe they will lose their jobs. While both indicators show dramatic improvement, neither has returned to levels measured by Gallup before the pandemic began.
US labor market estimates
A Gallup study on economics and personal finance on April 1-21 found that 43% of US adults believe now is a good time to look for quality work, up from 22% a year ago and 27% in January. While the current percentage is the highest since the start of the pandemic, it is still well below the 68% recorded in the latest Gallup pre-pandemic measure since January 2020.
Linear graph. Forty-three percent of US adults believe now is a good time to find quality work, higher than any other value during a pandemic but still well below the 68% measured before the pandemic began.
The pre-pandemic numbers are among the best measured by Gallup since it started asking labor market questions using this question in 2001. The peak was 71%, recorded in May 2019, after the unemployment rate in the United States reached a then -50-year low.
Despite a sharp deterioration in the perception of the labor market during the early stages of the pandemic, 22% who thought it was a good time to find quality work still performed better than the lowest point of the trend, 8% in November 2009 and November 2011. This data was obtained at a time when the US was emerging from the Great Recession, and the unemployment rate was hovering around 10%.
Key subgroups by party affiliation, employment status and household income now have a better view of the labor market than before during the pandemic, including April 2020 and January 2021. Of these groups, Democratic views have improved the most, and Republicans have improved the most, at least reflecting the change in presidential administration since the January poll.
Everyone but the Democrats is far less optimistic than they were before the January 2020 pandemic.
Percentage of respondents who answered that now is a good time to look for quality work, by subgroup
|Jan 2020||April 2020||Jan 2021||April 2021|
|Independent||69||21 years old||29||42|
|Unemployed||63||21 years old||25||41 years|
|Low income||57||22||28 year||38|
Remarkably, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are now nearly equally likely to say that now is a good time to look for quality jobs. This may reflect the fact that a Democratic president is in power, but this is Joe Biden’s early enough term for Republicans to attribute the improvement in economic conditions to former President Donald Trump and his policies.
The usual mediating effect of bias towards people’s assessment of the labor market becomes apparent when one looks at recent trends. Republicans (89%) were far more likely than Democrats (47%) to say it was a good time to look for quality jobs in January 2020, when Trump was in power and unemployment was lower than it is now. The party gap persisted in April 2020, when many people were out of work due to business closures, but it narrowed from 42 to 27 as 37% of Republicans and 10% of Democrats rated the labor market positively.
While many of those who were unemployed last spring are now back to work, the change in presidential administration has spiked Democrats ‘ratings, while Republicans’ ratings are only marginally better.
Assessment of personal safety at work
When American workers are asked about the prospects of losing their jobs, 13% say it is “very” or “very likely.” This is almost half less than a year ago, when Gallup last asked this question, when 25% thought it was likely. Prior to that – in April 2019 – only 8% said they were likely to be fired, which is due to the lowest Gallup in this trend.
Linear graph. The 13% of U.S. workers who say they have a high or some chance of losing their jobs in the next 12 months are less than 25% in April 2020, but remain above the 8% recorded in 2019.
As the percentage of employed adults who say they might lose their jobs has fallen, the majority of 53% reiterated that they are “not at all likely” to be fired. Last year, only 38% said so, which is the lowest percentage in the Gallup trend as of April 2010.
Low- and middle-income workers (15%) are more likely than workers with higher incomes (8%) to report the likelihood of losing their jobs.
While Republicans and Democrats currently have similar assessments as to whether it’s a good time to look for quality work, Republican workers (17%) are more likely than Democrats (7%) to see job loss likely.
As further evidence of the easing of unemployment fears, 7% cite job loss as the most important financial problem their family faces, up from 12% a year ago, when it was the top overall problem.
Americans’ appreciation of the labor market has improved from the worst of the pandemic, but they have not returned to where they were before much of the US economy was devastated by the coronavirus. As more adults in the US are vaccinated against COVID-19, states are looking to loosen restrictions and consumer demand for recreational activities is likely to spur job growth in areas hit hard by the pandemic, and the labor market will improve further. more. … If the unemployment rate falls and approaches the pre-pandemic level below 4%, the positive opinion of the Americans about the labor market should also come closer to its previous heights.
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