Job.com and Netpop Research took the pulse of the US job market and found that opinions were far from optimistic. More than 54 percent of participants who were identified as “unemployed” said that the job market is “dire” with “no hope in sight.” The outlook among job seekers worsened in October and early November, hitting its lowest point in the first week of November.
The downturn in outlook also coincided with discouraging reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing no change or gains in unemployment. The unchanging unemployment rate coupled with the threat of long-term unemployment benefits expiring at the end of November are key influencers of job seekers’ pessimistic views of the labor market. Interestingly, the poll revealed that the outlook declined most steeply among job seekers who consider networking the best place to go for leads. Social networking may amplify discouraging reports in the media, heightening a lack of confidence among those looking for a job.
On a brighter note, some unemployed Americans are happy to be taking time off. To take advantage of their sojourn from the workforce they are spending time with family (39 percent), traveling or indulging in hobbies (34 percent), or going back to school (32 percent). In fact, the percent who plan to not to go back to work for another year or two increased over the duration of the poll. Hearing gloomy news on the job market likely prompted them to prolong their “sabbaticals.”
Finally, for those still employed, “quality of life” would be the primary consideration factor for switching jobs. Thirty-one percent said “better quality of life” would get them to consider a new job, compared to just 21 percent who would look for a “big raise or promotion.” One-fourth (24 percent) would consider a new job if it gave them an “opportunity to do what they love.” Clearly, there is more to job-satisfaction than a fat paycheck.
Other results include:
• 3 in 10 job seekers consider online job boards to be the best place to go for leads
• These “job board enthusiasts” were more optimistic than other job seekers in the dark days of November and December. (Researching job openings rather than social media commentary presumably improved their outlook.)
• Employed workers are far more optimistic than job seekers, reminding us of the need to “take a walk in another’s shoes”