Worker confidence slips yet remains positive

Although U.S. worker confidence slightly fell in May by 1.1 points, it remains above a positive level at 53.2, according to the latest Randstad U.S. Employee Confidence Index.

"Despite the slight decrease seen in our latest report, we shouldn't disregard the fact that our Index is still indicative of positive confidence levels," says Joanie Ruge, senior vice president and chief employment analyst for Randstad Holding. "Clearly, what we are seeing in our survey as well as in other broader economic indicators is caution being exercised from both an employee and employer perspective. Although this is to be expected given the depth of the recession, the slower pace in U.S. job creation seen over the last few months and headlines around the European financial crisis, it is important not to lose sight of the fact that the economy is still improving.

"In fact, the unemployment rate for college degreed workers stands at only 4 percent. As the economic recovery remains choppy, we are seeing more companies rely upon contingent labor to help maintain work force variability and hire hard-to-find talent for high demand positions. This means that for many job seekers, including new college graduates, pursuing contingent or flexible-work assignments may mean getting a foot in the door to employment and even long-term, permanent employment."

The survey also reveals that employee confidence hovers around May 2011 levels at 53.9. Twenty-seven percent of respondents say the economy is improving. Only 19 percent of respondents say more jobs are available, though this is down 2 percent from April, while 48 percent of respondents say fewer jobs are available.  

Another 41 percent of respondents are optimistic regarding their chances of finding new jobs in May as opposed to 46 percent in April. Seventy-two percent of respondents think it is unlikely that they will become unemployed in the next year, which is the same figure from April.

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