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Employee confidence at all-time high

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Employee confidence at all-time high

Optimism increases despite weaker-than-expected US employment gains.

According to a monthly survey released this week by employment services provider Randstad, US employees are feeling better about their situation than ever.

The company reported that its US Employee Confidence Index reached 62.3 in first quarter 2015, the highest figure reported since the survey's inception in the third quarter of 2004. The ECI, which is calculated from the results of an online survey conducted on Randstad's behalf by Harris Poll, measures employed workers' perceptions regarding the overall strength of the economy, availability of jobs, confidence in current employer and their ability to find a new job.

The index's first quarter findings indicate confidence levels reached an all-time high, with more than one-third (35%) of workers stating they believe there are more jobs available and 51% expressing confidence in their ability to find one.

"Several indicators show consumer sentiment is still rising, as evidenced by our own US Employee Confidence Index."

Although employee confidence levels increased, the April 3 employment report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows March job gains decreased to 126,000, compared to gains averaging over 269,000 during the previous 12 months. Additionally, earlier employment projections issued in January and February were adjusted to subtract 69,000 jobs from the first quarter's total.

On the positive side, the March jobs report shows average hourly wages increased by 0.3%, bringing the increase in wages over the past 12 months to 2.1%. The BLS also reports the number of Americans filing for unemployment fell to a 15-year low with 268,000 new claims filed in the last week of March. These factors bring the four-week moving average – a better indicator because it smooth’s out the normal bumps in the road – to an encouraging 285,500.

"March was, without question, a less than stellar month for the economy that was exacerbated by extremely harsh winter weather and trade disruption from the West Coast port strike," said Jim Link, Chief HR Officer, Randstad North America. "The stalled employment numbers have already led to discussions among economists as to whether they simply represent a bump in the road or perhaps early signs that a broader economic slowdown is beginning.

"However, it's important to remember in previous recessions, consumer sentiment started declining well before the economy visibly weakened. Right now, several indicators show consumer sentiment is still rising, as evidenced by our own US Employee Confidence Index, which reached its highest levels ever at the close of first quarter 2015 and indicates workers feel very confident in the economy and overall job market."



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