Press Release Archive
FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., October 7, 2005 — After rebounding in August, the Spherion® Employee Confidence Index dropped 4.4 points in September to 54.2, its lowest level recorded since July 2004. In the first Employment Report since Hurricane Katrina affected the United States, employed adults in the U.S. were considerably less confident in the economy and job market. The September survey of 2,662 employed adults in the U.S., conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Spherion Corporation (NYSE:SFN), did show that the sharp drop in macroeconomic confidence did not affect workers’ personal confidence and feelings about job security, which were little changed from August.
The subscale Macroeconomic Confidence Index, which measures workers’ confidence in the overall economy and job market, fell 8.6 points to 34.4 because a higher percentage of workers believed the economy is weakening and that fewer jobs were available. The Personal Confidence Index, a subscale index measuring workers’ confidence in the future of their current employer and their ability to find a new job, remained steady at 74.1 for the second straight month. Even though the level remained at 74.1, slightly more workers felt confident in the future of their employers, while slightly fewer workers felt confident in their own ability to find a new job. For detailed information on the calculation of the Employee Confidence Index and its subscale measurements, please see the “About the Spherion Employment Report” section below.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the devastation from Hurricane Katrina weighed heavily on the minds of U.S. workers and shook their confidence in the economic situation,” said Roy Krause, Spherion president and chief executive officer. “However, as we have seen in the past, the lower confidence in the macroeconomic environment continues to have no discernable impact on workers’ perceptions of their own job security and the future of their current employers in September. Previous workforce studies from 2001 and 2003 also showed us that issues such as terrorist attacks and economic uncertainty haven’t shaken their confidence levels. This is the hallmark of the new American worker – they are more self-confident, demanding and change ready. Employers must understand that the old rules of management may not apply any longer and that their HR policies and programs must be adapted to meet the needs of today’s workforce.”
Results from the September Spherion Employment Report:
Employee Confidence Index: U.S. Workers’ Confidence Drops
The September Employee Confidence Index was 54.2, reaching its lowest point in the past year, dropping 4.4 points from the prior month and down 3.1 points from September 2004. The Index, which measures U.S. adult workers’ confidence in their personal employment situation and the macroeconomic environment, decreased primarily due to more workers being concerned about the strength of the economy and in the availability of jobs.
Macroeconomic Confidence Index Decreases: Dropping to the lowest point in the past year, macroeconomic confidence decreased to 34.4 in September, down 8.6 points from the previous month and 6.6 points from September 2004. This drop was due to more workers being uncertain about the availability of jobs and in the strength of the economy.
Specific findings from Macroeconomic Confidence Index include:
- 20% of U.S. adult workers believe that more jobs are available, a decrease of five percentage points from the previous month.
- 52% of U.S. adult workers believe the economy is getting weaker, versus 37% in August. Only 17% of U.S. workers believe the economy is strengthening, down eight percentage points from the prior month.
Personal Confidence Index Rises: For the second straight month, the Personal Confidence Index remained at 74.1, as more workers reported confidence in the future of their employer and nearly the same number of workers were confident about their ability to find a new job. The Index is 0.5 points higher than in September 2004.
Specific findings from Personal Confidence Index include:
- 66% of adult workers in the U.S. feel confident in the future of their employer, up three percentage points from August.
- 58% of U.S. adult workers report confidence in their ability to find a new job, compared to 59% in the previous month.
Job Security Index: Nearly 80 Percent of U.S. Workers Feel Secure in Their Jobs
- 79% of U.S. adult workers feel it is unlikely that their jobs will be eliminated in the next 12 months, compared to 78% in August. The Index reached its highest point of 79% for the fifth time in the past year.
Job Transition Index: Fewer Workers Report That They Are Likely to Job Search
- 34% of working adults in the U.S. said they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, a five percentage point decrease from the prior month. This is the lowest percentage of workers in the past year who indicated they are likely to look for a new job.
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 September 2005 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 2,662 employed adults, aged 18 years and older, was interviewed in a series of two polls conducted between September 7-9 and September 14-16, 2005 (for August 2005 n=2,652). 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) is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world, perhaps best known for The Harris Poll® and for pioneering and engineering Internet-based research methods. The Rochester, New York–based global research company blends premier strategic consulting with innovative and efficient methods of investigation, analysis and application, conducting proprietary and public research globally to help clients achieve clear, material and enduring results.
Blending science and art, Harris Interactive combines its intellectual capital and one of the world’s largest online panels of respondents, with premier Internet survey technology and sophisticated research methods to market leadership through its US, Europe (www.harrisinteractive.com/europe) and Asia offices, its wholly owned subsidiary, Novatris in Paris (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.