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FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 7, 2006 — The Employee Confidence Index rose for the first time since December 2005, as more workers had confidence in their employers’ future and in their ability to find a new job. The March Spherion® Employee Confidence Index, which measures workers’ personal and macroeconomic confidence, increased 0.3 points from February to 58.2. The Index remains more than one point above its average level over the past year. The survey of 2,972 employed adults in the U.S. conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN), shows that majorities of workers have confidence in their ability to find a new job (58 percent) and are confident in the future of their employer (66 percent).
Despite the creation of nearly 600,000 jobs in the past three months, workers remain unconvinced that the economy and job market are expanding. Only 26 percent of all workers believe that more jobs are now available and 23 percent believe the economy is strengthening.
For the fourth consecutive month, 78 percent of all workers said that they believe it is unlikely that they will lose their job in the next year. While workers felt their jobs were secure, fewer said they planned to search for jobs in March. The survey showed that 33 percent of all workers plan to change jobs in the next year, a six-percentage point drop from the previous month.
“After ending the year on a strong note, employee confidence dropped over the first two months of the year as rising energy prices and slower growth in the fourth quarter may have weighed on workers’ minds,” said Roy Krause, president and chief executive officer of Spherion. “Worker confidence has now rebounded, and for good reason. Job growth spans across a wide range of industries, skill levels and job types, thereby providing more opportunities for job seekers. In our recruiting and staffing business, we have continued to see very solid demand for full-time workers in markets across the country, especially in technology and financial services, as skilled workers become more difficult to find.”
Results from the March Spherion Employment Report:
Employee Confidence Index: Confidence Rises in March
The March Employee Confidence Index was 58.2, rising 0.3 points from February. The Index, which measures workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation and the macroeconomic environment, increased as a result of more workers being confident in their personal employment situation. The Index level is 0.3 points higher than in March 2005.
- Macroeconomic Confidence Index Remains Steady: Workers’ confidence in the macroeconomic environment was 42.1 in March, unchanged from last month as the number of workers who believe the number of jobs and the strength of the economy held somewhat steady. The Index level is 0.1 points higher than in March 2005.
Specific findings from the Macroeconomic Confidence Index include:
- 39 percent of U.S. adult workers believe that fewer jobs are available, as compared to 41 percent from February; at the same time, the percentage of workers reporting that there are more jobs available (26 percent) is virtually unchanged from the previous month (25 percent)
- 23 percent of U.S. adult workers believe the economy is getting stronger, compared to 24 percent in the previous month
- Personal Confidence Index Increases: Workers’ personal confidence in their own employment situation increased 0.7 points to 74.4 in March. This increase was a result of more workers being confident in the future of their employer and their ability to find a new job. The Index level is 0.6 points higher than last year.
Specific findings from Personal Confidence Index include:
- 66 percent of adult workers in the U.S. feel confident in the future of their employer, compared to 65 percent in February
- 58 percent of adult workers in the U.S. have confidence in their own ability to find a new job, compared to 57 percent from the prior month
Job Security Index: Percentage of Workers Confident in Job Security Remains Stable
- For the fourth consecutive month, the Job Security Index has remained at 78 percent. The Index is one- percentage point lower than in February 2005.
Job Transition Index: One-third of Workers Planning Job Search
- Reaching its lowest point recorded in the last year, 33 percent of U.S. workers said they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months. The Index is two-percentage points lower than the level reported in March 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 that measures employees’ overall confidence inthe economy, their employer and their ability to find other employment. The Employee Confidence Index is calculated from the results of four components that reflect these aspects of employee confidence. For each component item a ‘score’ is calculated 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, with each score ranking on a scale from 0 (no confidence) to 100 (complete confidence). A reading above 50 indicates a positive confidence level.
The March 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 2,972 employed adults, aged 18 years and older, was interviewed in a series of two polls conducted between March 8-10 and March 14-16, 2006 (for February 2006 n=2,957). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, education and region were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting adjusted for respondents’ propensity to be online. In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95 percent certainty that the results have a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. population of employed adults had been polled with complete accuracy. This online sample is not a probability sample.
Spherion Corporation is a leader in the staffing industry in North America, providing value-added staffing, recruiting and workforce solutions. Spherion has helped companies improve their bottom line by efficiently planning, acquiring and optimizing talent since 1946. To learn more, visit www.spherion.com.
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive Inc. ( www.harrisinteractive.com), based in Rochester, New York, is the 13th largest and the fastest-growing market research firm in the world, most widely known for The Harris Poll® and for its pioneering leadership in the online market research industry. Long recognized by its clients for delivering insights that enable confident business decisions, the Company blends the science of innovative research with the art of strategic consulting to deliver knowledge that leads to measurable and enduring value.
Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its United States, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris in Paris, France (www.novatris.com), and through an independent global network of affiliate market research companies. EOE M/F/D/V
To become a member of the Harris Poll OnlineSM and be invited to participate in future online surveys, go to www.harrispollonline.com.