Press Release Archive
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., September 1, 2006 — Despite a July rebound worker confidence declined sharply in August, according to a recent survey of 3,188 employed adults in the U.S. The Spherion® Employee Confidence Index, a monthly gauge of overall worker confidence, decreased 2.1 points to 55.7 in August. This is the lowest index point recorded since October 2005 when it was 54.1. A significant drop in workers’ confidence in the current health of the economy and job market fueled the overall decline. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN), shows that nearly half of workers (47 percent) believe the economy is weakening (an increase of three percentage points from July) and 42 percent think that fewer jobs are now available, a four percentage point increase from July.
Workers’ personal confidence also declined in August, but the drop was less significant. Sixty-three percent said they had confidence in the future of their employer (a drop of two percentage points from July) and 57 percent remain confident in their ability to find a new job.
However, the decline in overall confidence didn’t affect how workers feel about their own job security and likelihood to make a job change. Seventy-nine percent of workers remain confident that their jobs will not be eliminated in the next year, showing no change from July. More than one-third of workers (35 percent) still plan to change jobs over the next twelve months, also unchanged from July.
“As we mark the Labor Day holiday on a rather weak note in terms of worker confidence, it’s important to recognize that while some uncertainty exists about the macroeconomic situation, the confidence of the U.S. workforce remains quite high,” said Roy Krause, president and chief executive officer of Spherion. “Though it has slowed a bit in the past few months, job growth remains positive and widespread and we continue to see steady demand across the country for talent on both a permanent and contingent basis.
“And while their outlook on the economy and job situation has been dampened, the August confidence numbers once again show us that workers’ views of the economy don’t have a great impact on how they feel about their own job situation and likelihood of changing jobs. We have a personally confident workforce who believes in their own abilities and the success of their current employers.”
Results from the August Spherion Employment Report:
Employee Confidence Index: Workers’ Confidence Decreases in August
The Employee Confidence Index was 55.7 in August, falling 2.1 points from July. The Index, which measures workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation and the macroeconomic environment, decreased primarily because fewer workers reported optimism in the strength of the economy and confidence in the availability of jobs. The Index is 2.9 points lower than the level recorded a year ago.
- Macroeconomic Confidence Index Falls: The Macroeconomic Confidence Index decreased to 38.2 in August, a 3.4-point drop from July, as more workers were pessimistic about the strength of the economy and availability of jobs. The Index level is 4.8 points lower than a year ago.
Specific findings from the Macroeconomic Confidence Index include:
- 42 percent of U.S. adult workers believe that fewer jobs are available, compared to 38 percent in July.
- 18 percent of U.S. adult workers believe the economy is getting stronger, down five percentage points from the previous month.
- Personal Confidence Index Declines Slightly: The Personal Confidence Index was 73.2 in August, down 0.8 points from July. A drop in the percentage of workers confident in the future of their employers fueled this slight decrease. The Index level is 0.9 points lower than in August 2005.
Specific findings from the Personal Confidence Index include:
- 63 percent of U.S. adult workers feel confident in the future of their employer, compared to 65 percent in July.
- 57 percent of U.S. adult workers have confidence in their own ability to find a new job, showing no change from the previous month.
Job Security Index: Workers’ Confidence in Job Security Unchanged
- For the second consecutive month, 79 percent of the U.S. workforce indicates it is unlikely that they will lose their jobs in the next year. The Job Security Index is one percentage point lower than a year ago.
Job Transition Index: Percentage of Workers Planning to Search for New Job Unchanged
35 percent of U.S. workers said they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, showing no change from July. The Index is four percentage points lower than the level reported in August 2005.
About the Spherion Employment Report
As part of the Spherion Emerging Workforce® Series of employment surveys, the monthly Spherion Employment Report provides a snapshot of the latest workforce trends across the country and is issued in conjunction with state and national labor market releases. Three key indices are measured: the Spherion Job Security Index, which captures how likely respondents think it is that they will lose their job or that their job will be eliminated in the next 12 months; the Spherion Job Transition Index, which captures how likely respondents are to look for a new job in the next 12 months; and the Employee Confidence Index, which measures employees’ overall confidence in the economy, the future of their employer, the availability of jobs, and their ability to find other employment. The Employee Confidence Index is based on these four components, with a ‘score’ calculated for each by taking the difference of the percentage of positive responses and the percentage of negative responses. These four scores are then averaged to indicate an overall level of employee confidence scaled from 0 (no confidence) to 100 (complete confidence). A reading above 50 indicates a positive confidence level.
The August 2006 Spherion Employment Report is based on data from the Harris Interactive QuickQuerySM online omnibus conducted monthly by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion Corporation. A U.S. sample of 3,188 employed adults, aged 18 years and older, was interviewed in a series of two polls conducted between August 8-10 and August 15-17, 2006 (for July 2006 n=2,836). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, education and region were weighted where necessary to bring them in line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting adjusted for respondents’ propensity to be online.
With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure probability sample of 3,188 U.S. employed adults one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- two percentage points. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN) is a leading recruiting and staffing company that provides integrated solutions to meet the evolving needs of companies and job candidates. As an industry pioneer for 60 years, Spherion has screened and placed millions of individuals in temporary, temp-to-hire and full-time jobs. Positions range from administrative and light industrial to a host of professions that include accounting/finance, information technology, engineering, manufacturing, legal, human resources and sales/marketing.
With approximately 650 offices in the United States and Canada, Spherion delivers innovative workforce solutions that improve business performance. Spherion provides its services to more than 8,000 customers, from Fortune 500 companies to a wide range of small and mid-size organizations. Employing 375,000 people annually through its network, Spherion is one of North America’s largest employers. To learn more, visit www.spherion.com. For up-to-date career tips and trends, visit Spherion’s career blog, The Big TimeTM, at www.spherion.com/careerblog.
About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides research-driven insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what could conceivably be the world’s largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in France and through a global network of independent market research firms. The service bureau, HISB, provides its market research industry clients with mixed-mode data collection, panel development services as well as syndicated and tracking research consultation. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at www.harrisinteractive.com.
To become a member of the Harris Poll Online, visit www.harrispollonline.com.