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US employee confidence improves slightly

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US employee confidence improves slightly

Confidence in current employment situation and job market remains unchanged from August.

Confidence levels among workers rebounded slightly this month, however little changed month-over-month for nearly all aspects of the report. The September Randstad U.S. Employee Confidence Index, which tracks U.S. workers' perspectives around jobs and the economy each month, increased to 56.4 from 55.9 in August. The Randstad Macroeconomic Confidence Index, measuring employees' confidence in the overall strength of the economy, also rose one point to 45.9 from 44.9 in August, while the Randstad Personal Confidence Index, a measure of workers' confidence in their own employment situation, remained relatively unchanged at 66.8, representing a 0.1 percentage point decrease from last month's 66.9.

"About a third of the workforce is contingent or freelance."

When it comes to workers' confidence in their own employment situation, there was no significant change since August. The employee confidence study, conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Randstad among 1,058 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older, found slightly more than one-quarter of workers (26%) say they are confident in the availability of jobs, the same percentage as last month. Similarly, 44% of workers say they are confident in their own ability to find a new job, a slight decrease from 45% in August. Finally, workers' confidence in the future of their current employer remained unwavering with 60% saying they are confident. Only 13% of employees surveyed believe it is likely they will lose their job in the next 12 months.

"Although overall confidence levels among workers were little changed month-over-month, the index has remained well above our confidence threshold of 50 throughout 2014, compared to the start of the recession when it never climbed above the 40s," said Jim Link, Chief HR Officer, Randstad North America. "With the nation's impressive job gains of 248,000 in September and an unemployment rate below 6.0 for the first time since the recession, we expect to see further increases in employee confidence. The dynamics of a healthier job market such as pay increase demands, more frequent job changes and career mobility should put employers on notice as their top talent may be more susceptible to a career move. We're advising our clients to pay greater attention to their workforce's changing needs. Workers continue to gain optimism in their professions alongside the positive economic recovery."

While the spotlight often falls on the monthly employment numbers, several economic indicators deserve further consideration as they are likely to shape the job market drastically in the coming years:

  • Roughly 139 million people are on payroll today, more than at any other time in U.S. history.
  • Part-time employment for economic reasons dropped last month, while unemployment continued its downward trajectory closing in on the 5.5% natural unemployment rate expected in 2015.
  • About a third of the workforce is contingent or freelance. A recent survey commissioned by the Freelancers Union and Elance-oDesk says 53 million freelancers (including independent contractors, temporary workers and moonlighters) make up 34% of the U.S. workforce.
  • More than 70 million Baby Boomers will retire before 2030, according to the Social Security Administration.Georgetown University says Boomers' absence in the workforce will help boost job openings by upwards of 30 million by 2020.

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