No Momentum in Quality Jobs Market in U.S.

No Momentum in Quality Jobs Market in U.S.

by Dennis Jacobe, Chief Economist

23% say now is a good time to find a quality job, while 73% say it is a bad time

PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans continue to think it is hard to find a quality job in February, with 23% saying now is a good time to find one. But this is on par with the 25% who said the same in January, which was the highest Gallup has measured since March 2008.

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At the same time, 73% say now is a bad time to find a quality job, up from 70% in January, but among its lowest -- or in other words, best -- levels since 2008. Eight in 10 Americans believed it was a bad time to get a quality job throughout 2009 to 2011 and during many months in 2012.

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At 30%, Democrats are the most optimistic that now is a good time to find a quality job, more than twice the 13% of Republicans saying the same. Independents' views are closest to Democrats, with 24% saying now is a good time to find a quality job.

Similarly, liberals, at 32%, are more than twice as likely as conservatives, at 15%, to say this is a good time to find a quality job. Moderates, at 27%, are closer to liberals than they are to conservatives.

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As was the case in January, nonwhites -- 36% -- and those aged 18 to 29 -- 31% -- are among the most optimistic in February about finding a quality job. There are few differences by gender, education, or location.

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Americans' view of the chances of finding a quality job addresses a different aspect of the economy than many other measures of the job market. Even as the overall job market improves, it is possible that job growth would be concentrated in low paying, low skilled jobs -- leaving little availability of what many Americans might think of as a quality job. On the other hand, it is also possible that in an economy with some areas and industries in recession while others are booming, quality jobs may be going unfilled while overall unemployment remains high nationwide. This latter situation may explain, at least in part, why more Americans are seeing quality job availability increasing while unemployment remains around 8%. For example, in a January Wells Fargo/Gallup Small Business survey, 53% of small-business owners said they were having difficulty finding qualified employees.

For quality job seekers, this shortage of qualified employees may be a good situation -- that is if they have the right skills to fit the open jobs. For the U.S. economy as a whole, it implies that fixing the job situation may require more than just creating new jobs -- it also may require training or otherwise developing qualified employees who can handle high-quality jobs. reports results from these indexes in daily, weekly, and monthly averages and in stories. Complete trend data are always available to view and export in the following charts:

Daily: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending
Weekly: Employment, Economic Confidence, Job Creation, Consumer Spending

Read more about Gallup's economic measures.

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Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 7-10, 2013, with a random sample of 1,015 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cellphones numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted to correct for unequal selection probability, nonresponse, and double coverage of landline and cell users in the two sampling frames. They are also weighted to match the national demographics of gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, population density, and phone status (cellphone only/landline only/both, cellphone mostly, and having an unlisted landline number). Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2012 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older U.S. population. Phone status targets are based on the July-December 2011 National Health Interview Survey. Population density targets are based on the 2010 census. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting.

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.

View methodology, full question results, and trend data.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit

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