Worker confidence hits highest level in 9 months

For the second consecutive month in February, the Randstad Employee Confidence Index increased 1.5 points to 53.9, marking the highest level of employee confidence recorded since May 2011.

According to the survey, respondents say they feel more confident in their personal employment situations and the overall macroeconomic environment. 

"We are very pleased to see our U.S. Employee Confidence Index jump start 2012 on a high note," says Joanie Ruge, senior vice president and chief employment analyst for Randstad US Holding. "The first two months of the year have both registered slightly higher than the indices reported in January and February of 2011. In fact, our latest index is consistent with other positive economic indicators, such as job creation, a decrease in unemployment claims and the U.S. economy growing a higher-than-anticipated 3 percent in the final three months of 2011.

"Many watch employee confidence indicators because steady increases may signal rises in consumer spending, which makes up 70 percent of economic activity. But with rising gas prices and continued concerns over the European debt crisis, many U.S. workers and employers remain cautiously optimistic until they see more of a steady stream of positive news over the next few months."

Although respondents feel more confident, they are still split on the strength of the economy as 30 percent say the economy is getting better, 37 percent say it remains the same, and 33 percent say it is weakening. Another 19 percent of respondents believe more jobs are available, which is up 1 percent from last month and 6 percent from December 2011.

Forty-three percent of respondents say they are confident in their abilities to find jobs, a 6 percent jump from January, and 59 percent of respondents also report feeling confident in the future of their employers for a 2 percent decline from the previous month. Among the respondents, 69 percent predict that it is unlikely they will lose their jobs. This figure is down 3 percent from last month.

For the third consecutive month, 34 percent of respondents believe it is likely that they will look for a new job within the next 12 months while 53 percent of respondents say they are not likely to look for new employment in the next year.

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