46% of Americans rate job market as bad

Even though unemployment numbers are falling, people’s attitudes towards the job market are not improving, according to a Harris Poll.

Forty-six percent of Americans see the job market in their region as bad, 31% are neither positive or negative about it, and just 23% say it is good.

The people in the South seem less negative than those in the East – 43% and 52% respectively see the job market in their region as bad.

As summer slowly drifts into the fall, many people start wondering about their jobs and whether they should be looking for a change.

It is the time of year when the highest number of people aim to be in a working someplace else before the calendar turns.

In this Harris Poll, 2,286 adults were surveyed online from August 14th to 19th.

Most Americans believe the job market won’t change

Asked how they see the job market in their region of the country over the next six months:

  • 52% believed it will stay the same (the same percentage as in February this year)
  • 25% think it will improve (vs. 28% in February)
  • 24% think it will get worse (vs. 19% in February)


Thirty-four percent of Americans have a 401(k). A 401(k) is a retirement savings plan funded by employee contributions and (usually) matching employer contributions.

Many 401(k) plan holders wonder how their plans will fare after the uncertainties in the stock market since 2008. When asked whether they had made any changes to their 401(k) plans when the stock market fell in 2008:

  • 24% had made changes
  • 59% had made no changes
  • 17% of current 401(k) plan participants did not have a 401(k) in 2008

Harris Interactive reported that both groups did well – those who made changes as well as individuals who didn’t. Seventy-one percent of respondents who had made changes reported an increase in the amount of their plan, as well as 58% of those who made no changes.

Nineteen percent of all plan holders who made changes and 18% of those who didn’t reported an increase of more than 10% in the value of their plan. Twenty-one percent have seen the value of their 401(k)s going down, compared to 18% who saw no change.