U.S. Employee Confidence Level Rises in October


The October Randstad U.S. Employee Confidence Index, which tracks U.S. workers’ monthly perspectives around jobs and the economy, increased 1.8 points to 58.2 from 56.4 in September. Workers showed growing confidence in the strength of the economy, with 37 percent believing the economy is getting stronger, up from 31 percent in September. Only three in 10 workers (30 percent) believe the economy is weakening. The study is conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Randstad, among 1,010 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

Despite more confidence in the overall job market in October, fewer workers indicated plans for changing jobs. For example, employees expressed increased confidence in the availability of jobs, with 30 percent saying there were more jobs in October compared to 26 percent saying so in September. Also, nearly five in ten workers (47 percent) are confident in their ability to find a job, a three percentage point increase from September. However, when it comes to workers’ beliefs about their current employment situation, fewer workers in October felt confident in the future of their employer as compared to those reporting confidence in September, and fewer employees plan to seek new employment. In October, just over one-third (34%) of workers said it was likely they would look for a new job, a slight decline from the 36 percent who said so last month.

“U.S. workers are showing more confidence about both the overall economy and the jobs recovery, as demonstrated by our recent surveys,” said Jim Link, Chief HR Officer, Randstad North America. “As we noted in September, an employment environment not seen since before the recession is within sight, and once it arrives, employers will need to turn up their retention efforts. The last bridge to cross before reaching full economic and employment recovery is wage growth. In previous post-recession environments, accelerated hiring eventually drove up pay rates. Wages have yet to improve in the current recovery, but most economists anticipate they will. And when wages do improve, the financial incentive to seek new employment will only stimulate employees’ job mobility and interest in changing employers.”

In September, the average U.S. hourly wage dropped a penny to $24.53 despite the increase of 248,000 jobs. The 12-month increase in hourly wages decreased to 2.0 percent from 2.1 percent in August, falling just slightly faster than the rate of inflation. The U.S. Labor Department reported in October that workers’ weekly earnings in the third quarter ticked down from earlier in the year and are just now matching the amount workers took home near the start of the recession.

“Slow earnings growth typically indicates employers aren’t feeling pressure to increase compensation,” continued Link. “While job openings are high, the pace of hiring is still below that of pre-recession rates, and workers likely sense that all the pieces of the employment picture aren’t together yet. We still see workers opting for stability rather than career change, but believe that with wage growth we’ll see workers demonstrate more interest in new career prospects.”

Randstad, the second largest staffing and HR services firm in the world, has been tracking workforce trends and publishing the U.S. Employee Confidence Index since 2004.

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Ken Wells