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US employee confidence reaches highest levels in nearly eight years

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US employee confidence reaches highest levels in nearly eight years

Workers very confident in the strength of economy.

On the heels of an impressive November employment report from the US Labor Department, workers reported growing confidence in both the overall economy and the labor market in December. According to staffing and HR giant Randstad’s US Employee Confidence Index, which tracks U.S. workers' monthly perspectives around jobs and the economy, the December index increased 1.3 points from 58.3 to a nearly eight-year high of 60.0.

The last time the Employee Confidence Index reached 60 or above was in February 2007 when it attained 60.4.

"One thing is quite clear, companies are looking for employees."

Additionally, the Randstad Macroeconomic Confidence Index, which measures employees' confidence in the overall strength of the economy, rose 1.6 percentage points to 50.5 in December from 48.9 in November. This reading marks the highest level since Randstad began tracking the Macroeconomic Confidence Index in 2004. The study is conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of Randstad, among 1,056 employed U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

When it comes to their personal situation, workers expressed high confidence in overall job availability, their ability to find a new job and the future of their current employer. In fact, the Randstad Personal Confidence Index, a measure of workers' confidence in their own employment situation, rose 1.1 points in December to 69.6 from 68.5 the previous month. Approximately three in 10 employees (29%) expressed increased confidence in the availability of jobs, a reading that remained unchanged from November. Meanwhile, half of workers felt confident in their ability to find a job, and 62% said they were confident in the future of their current employer in December.

"We are pleased to see workers' confidence levels soaring as a result of the economy having added at least 200,000 jobs for 10 consecutive months, the longest uninterrupted stretch at that level in more than three decades," said Jim Link, Chief HR Officer, Randstad North America. "While economists applauded the impressive job creation numbers and the long-awaited wage increase in November's employment report, those results likely have put many employers on high alert to aggressively address talent supply and demand issues. The United States created 2.65 million new jobs this year, which is the largest annual increase since 1999. One thing is quite clear, companies are looking for employees."

As the demand for talent surges, many employers struggle to fill open positions quickly or even at all, and the hiring delays cost them money. In fact, research conducted by the Centre for Economic and Business Research and the job site Indeed.com shows delayed hiring costs employers nearly $160 billion a year. The report also found one in three open positions now remains unfilled for longer than three months—a number on the rise in recent months. According to the report, manufacturing exemplifies an industry in which jobs remain open for longer than average, with 38.4 percent of available jobs remaining open for more than three months.

"Our clients continue to rely upon our partnership to hire hard-to-find, skilled talent to fill growing numbers of job openings," said Link. "For example, the most recent Employment report issued by the U.S. Labor Department showed the temporary help services sector was up 22,700 jobs and totaled more than 2.9 million. Also in November, the help sector showed healthy year-on-year growth of 8.5 percent, reflecting the increasing dependence on temporary staffing firms to deliver sought-after workers and maintain flexible workforce structures."

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