Economy

Despite Positive Signs, Americans Still Negative on Job Market

In August, 41% saw short-term benefits of economic stimulus

PRINCETON, NJ -- The White House announced today that President Barack Obama's stimulus plan saved or created 640,000 jobs and further, that jobs linked to this year's tax cuts put the total number of jobs created this year by government actions at over one million. A review of Gallup data does, in fact, show that American workers have been reporting a slightly more positive hiring situation at their companies since July, but that there has been no change in the percentage of Americans who say it is a good time to find a quality job. When Gallup last asked directly about the stimulus in August, 41% felt that the stimulus plan had produced a positive short-term effect on the economy.

Job Creation

Gallup's Job Creation Index has been, for the most part, in positive territory since mid-September, with employees at least slightly more likely to say their companies are hiring new employees rather than to say their companies are reducing the size of their workforce. This marks an improvement from earlier this year when the index was consistently in negative territory. Although the changes involved are not large, they do suggest at least a modest improvement in the job situation in America in the latter half of this year.

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Good Time to Find a Job?

Despite these slightly more positive reports on company hiring activity from workers, Gallup's tracking of the views of all Americans on the job market have not changed this year and remain very negative. Only 1 out of 10 Americans in early October said that it is a good time to find a quality job, representing a continuation of the pattern seen all year.

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Taking a look at this trend over time, these views on the job market underwent a general month after month slide throughout 2008. This year, despite the stimulus money, the upward movement in the stock market, and other economic news, these perceptions have hardly budged from the negative levels at which they began the year.

Effect of the Stimulus

Americans had mixed views on the effect of the stimulus on the economy in early August. About 4 out of 10 said that the stimulus had made the economy better in the short-term and about 4 in 10 said the stimulus would make the economy better in the long term. The rest either said that the stimulus had no effect, or that it made the economy worse. More specifically, about as many Americans felt the stimulus would make the economy worse in the long term as would make it better.

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Bottom Line

The White House announcement Friday that there have been up to 1,000,000 jobs created by government actions relating to the economy (and the news coverage that follows) may in and of itself increase Americans' positive perceptions of the impact of the stimulus on the economy, and perhaps help boost economic confidence more generally. The long-term impact of the White House tally of jobs created will, in turn, be affected by reports on jobs and unemployment that come out in the weeks ahead. Gallup's daily monitoring of the economy will continue to help gauge the way in which these factors affect the lives and attitudes of average Americans.

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Survey Methods

Gallup surveys 1,000 national adults, aged 18 and older, every day and also conducts additional surveys. In most cases, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±2-3 percentage points. For detailed survey methods on any results reported here, please visit the original story.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on land-line telephones (for respondents with a land-line telephone) and cellular phones (for respondents who are cell-phone only).

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/124004/Despite-Positive-Signs-Americans-Negative-Job-Market.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030