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Americans Optimistic About Job Market, Pessimistic about Economy

by Tom Walsh

Gallup polls a mixed bag of job market confidence, lack of confidence for economy

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Forty-five percent of Americans believe it is a “good time” to find a quality job, up six points from last month, according to a new Gallup poll. That number matches January 2015’s, and is the highest point the poll has reached since 2007.

The monthly poll, which first started in 2001, asked a random sample of 1,025 adults aged 18 and older whether it was a “good time” or a “bad time” to find a quality job. The poll’s results bottomed out from 2009 through 2011, and then began steadily rising in 2012.

Millennial Confidence Rising

This month, more young adults thought the job market was strong than adults in higher age groups, with 54 percent of young adults believing it was a good time to find a job. Only 37 percent of people aged 65 and up believed it was a good time to find a job.

In addition, those who were employed were more likely to say the job market was strong, with 49 percent of employed saying it was a good time to find a job, versus 40 percent of unemployed thinking it was a good time.

Economic Confidence Still Weak

One thing to note is that while their view of the job market is optimistic, Americans still are not confident in the overall economy. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence index averaged -14 for the week ending Sept. 13. While this is above the -17 measured two weeks ago, it’s still one of the lowest readings of the year. The index can range from +100, or all Americans rating the economy as good or excellent, to -100, or all Americans rating the economy as poor or getting worse.

The index is based on responses to two questions: the first asks Americans to rate the economic conditions in the U.S. today, and the second asks whether they believe the conditions are improving or getting worse. Fifty-eight percent said the economy was getting worse, leading to a -20 outlook rating. It was the second lowest outlook rating in the past year, with only a -25 in late August being worse. Regarding current conditions, the survey rating was at -7, which was on par with the rest of the year.

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