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Americans Feel Better About Jobs Than They Have in Years


The latest jobs numbers are unexpectedly rosy, with 165,000 new jobs in April and an unemployment rate of 7.5 percent, the lowest in five years. But perhaps more significantly, American workers feel better about their job prospects than they have since 2010.

USA Today reports that “Americans increasingly feel they could find a new job if necessary.” The General Social Survey, an annual public opinion poll, showed that the fear of being laid off dropped to average levels in 2012, from a high in 2010, the peak year of lay-off worries in the 35 year history of the survey.

Fifty-four percent of Americans said that they felt it would be “somewhat or very easy” to find a job today, as opposed to 46 percent in 2010. Eleven percent of those surveyed thought they might be laid off, as compared with 16 percent in 2010. 

And these numbers might reflect reality: a recent article from the Associated Press calls jobless claims “a proxy for layoffs.” Fewer jobless claims, the thinking goes, signal fewer layoffs. The piece noted, however, that while there are increased job openings, hiring has declined, suggesting that companies are opening up positions … but taking their time with actually filling open slots.

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Still, let’s take good news where we find it. For one thing, it’s good for the economy.

“If you’re not afraid of being laid off, you’re going to spend more of your money,” said Drew Matus, an economist at UBS, in an interview with USA Today.

Tell Us What You Think

Are you more confident in the job market than you were two years ago? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

More from PayScale

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(Photo Credit: quinn.anya/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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