Press Release Archive
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 10, 2006 — Employee confidence declined for the second straight month in February, as more workers cast doubt on the strength of the economy and job availability. The February Spherion® Employee Confidence Index, which measures workers’ personal and macroeconomic confidence, dropped one point from January to 57.9. The survey of 2,957 employed adults in the U.S. conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN), shows that 40 percent of workers believe the economy is getting weaker and 41 percent believe that fewer jobs are currently available.
As a result, the subscale Macroeconomic Confidence Index declined for the first time in four months, dropping 1.8 points to 42.1 in February. The Index is 1.7 points lower than a year ago. Despite the increased pessimism in the economy and job situation, workers’ view of their own employment situation was little changed in February. The Personal Confidence Index remained steady at 73.7, essentially unchanged from the prior month. Fifty-seven percent of workers have confidence in their ability to find a new job and 65 percent are confident in their employer’s future.
Workers remained confident in their job security as well, with 78 percent believing it is unlikely that they will lose their job in the next year, unchanged for the past three months. The survey also showed that 39 percent of workers plan to change jobs in the next year, an increase of three percentage points from the previous month.
“This decline in confidence demonstrates a lingering uncertainty about the economy felt by workers as the year gets under way. This trend is very similar to drops we saw at this time last year and is consistent with several other indicators that are showing similar concerns,” said Roy Krause, Spherion president and chief executive officer.
“Interestingly, since we started surveying the workforce, we have seen that swings in macroeconomic levels have done little to change workers’ confidence in their own personal employment situation, which remained consistently high. This once again underscores a concerning issue for employers, he said. “Today’s workers are more demanding, confident and change ready than ever before and aren’t deterred or emboldened by their view of the economy. This mindset certainly can spell trouble for traditionally managed employers that aren’t focused on building the right mindset, policies and workforce structure to attract and retain high performance workers.”
Results from the February Spherion Employment Report:
Employee Confidence Index: Confidence Slightly Lower in February
The overall Employee Confidence Index was 57.9 in February, falling one point from January. The Index, which measures workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation and the macroeconomic environment, decreased primarily because more workers reported doubt in the strength of the economy and the availability of jobs. The Index is 0.7 points lower than the level recorded in February 2005.
Macroeconomic Confidence Index Drops: Dropping for the first time in four months, the Macroeconomic Index fell to 42.1 in February, as more workers believe fewer jobs are available and the strength of the economy has decreased. The Index level is 1.7 points lower than in February 2005.
Specific findings from the Macroeconomic Confidence Index include:
- 41 percent of U.S. adult workers believe that fewer jobs are available, increasing two percentage points from January. At the same time, the percentage of workers reporting that there are more jobs available (25%) has remained the same.
- 24 percent of U.S. adult workers believe the economy is getting stronger, compared to 26 percent in the previous month.
Personal Confidence Index Falls: The Personal Confidence Index was 73.7 in February, virtually unchanged from 73.8 in January. The Index level is 0.2-points higher than last year.
Specific findings from Personal Confidence Index include:
- 65 percent of adult workers in the U.S. feel confident in the future of their employer, compared to 64 percent in January.
- 57 percent of adult workers in the U.S. have confidence in their own ability to find a new job, compared to 58 percent from the prior month.
Job Security Index: Workers’ Confidence in Job Security Remains Stable
78 percent of U.S. adult workers feel it is unlikely that their jobs will be eliminated in the next 12 months, unchanged for three consecutive months. The Index is one percentage point lower than in February 2005.
Job Transition Index: More Workers Planning Job Search
39 percent of working adults in the U.S. said they are likely to look for a new job in the next year, compared to 36 percent last month. The Index is one percentage point higher than the level reported in February 2005 and at its highest point reached in the last year.
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 in the 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 February 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 2,957 employed adults, aged 18 years and older, was interviewed in a series of two polls conducted between February 7-9 and February 14-16, 2006 (for January 2006 n=3,194). 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.