Worker confidence continues to rise despite weak economy

By Palm Beach

FORT LAUDERDALE — Worker confidence continues to rise despite the weak jobs market and overall economy.

Spherion Corp.’s Employee Confidence Index jumped 2.9 points in May to a reading of 48.3, the third consecutive month the index has risen since bottoming out at 40.1 in February. A year ago, the index sat at 46.9.

The index is based on a survey of workers who are asked a series of questions about the economy and their perceptions of the jobs market.

Earlier in the day, the Labor Department reported the economy dropped 345,000 jobs in May, the fewest lost since the September report, while the jobless rate rose 0.6 points to 9.5 percent, the highest in 26 years.

"It is definitely encouraging to see our latest overall employee confidence Iindex closer to the level reported this time last year,” Spherion CEO Roy Krause said. “Despite this good news, clearly there are still lingering concerns about the economy and job market. While many economists expect the U.S. jobless rate to surpass 10 percent by the year's end, we are still seeing demand for skilled talent, especially in the professional services sector.”

“In fact, in certain parts of the country, we are seeing employment opportunities increase. While job growth is certainly bleak compared to conventional measures, economic indicators now show declines that are less severe. Although it's still too soon to say that the worst of this is over, we remain hopeful that we may be getting closer to a turn around."

Among the report’s findings:

— Thirty-eight percent of workers believe the economy is getting weaker compared to 46 percent in April. Twenty percent of workers believe the economy is getting stronger, an increase of four percentage points from April.

— Only eight percent of U.S. adult workers surveyed believe there are more jobs available, increasing three percentage points from April. At the same time, 71 percent of workers report that there are fewer jobs available, compared to 75 percent in the previous month.

— Fewer workers reported confidence in the future of their current employers (63 percent in May versus 65 percent in April).

— Forty-two percent of U.S. adult workers reported confidence in their ability to find a new job, an increase of four percentage points from the previous month.

— Sixteen percent of workers say it is likely they will lose their jobs in the next year, decreasing by two percentage points from April's reading.

— Thirty-four percent of workers are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, showing no change from the previous month.

Harris Interactive conducted the survey on behalf of Spherion.

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JUNE 5, 2009 click to go home
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