For most Americans, even those with work, the job market has not made any progress in nearly a year. The U.S. economy has added fewer than 150,000 positions in most months over that time. By some counts, 14 million citizens are either unemployed or underemployed. That means many people have a friend, relative or neighbor out of work. Job mobility has been undercut by the ability of employers to pick the best candidates, because most have added very few workers. And wages for many people have not moved in several years.
This environment causes much of the American workforce to believe that jobs opportunities are very slim. A new Gallup poll concludes:
Americans’ perceptions of whether now is a good time or bad time to find a quality job remain flat at a weak but recently improved level, with 20% calling it a good time and 78% a bad time.
Before the recession, nearly half of those asked thought it was a “good time” to find a job. By that measure, the present perception has an air of hopelessness.
There is no reason to think that the perception of the jobs market will change much this year, and maybe next year as well. Most economic signs point to a slowdown in gross domestic product. Few economists believe that job additions will move above 200,000 a month for the rest of 2012. If current tax cuts are not extended, both consumers and businesses will become less economically active.
Jobs growth is on hold for now, and most Americans know it.
Methodology: Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted June 7 to 10, 2012, with a random sample of 1,004 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
Douglas A. McIntyre