U.S. workers regained some of their lost confidence in October as the Hudson Employment Index(SM) climbed 3.7 points to 100.5. After two consecutive months of energy and weather-related declines, employee attitudes rose marginally this month on every key Index measure. Despite the gains, this month’s reading falls short of where it was in the spring and early summer and is nearly nine points lower than one year ago.
Hiring Plans Return to Annual Median
Hiring expectations returned to where they had been for the first seven months of the year, with 31% of U.S. workers anticipating their firms would hire soon. This is up from the record low of 29% in September. Additionally, job satisfaction rose for the second straight month as 76% of employees were happy with their jobs, up from 75% in September and 72% in August.
Personal Finances Improve Despite Looming Winter
After reporting record low optimism in September, workers’ financial concerns have begun to ease. There was a substantial shift among the percent of workers who believed their finances were getting worse—from 47% down to 44%. The percent stating their situation was improving rose a point to 37%, while 43% described their finances favorably, up from 42%. Nevertheless, all the latest numbers fall quite shy of standings as recently as June and July of this year.
“After the utter devastation of Hurricane Katrina, it’s reassuring to see worker confidence starting to rebuild as hiring levels have returned to a normal level,” says Steve Wolfe, executive vice president, Hudson, North America. “However, employers need to recognize the precarious state of their workforces’ finances. With their checkbooks still reeling from off-the-chart energy prices, workers have high heating bills and the holidays on the horizon.”
Optimism was up dramatically among private sector managers, whose confidence returned to where it had been prior to September’s plummet. Confidence among manufacturing workers also increased significantly after hitting a record low last month. In contrast, IT workers were less confident this month, although more in that sector expected hiring this month.
The Hudson Employment Index
The Hudson Employment Index measures the U.S. workforce’s confidence in the employment market. Based upon monthly telephone surveys with approximately 9,000 U.S. workers, the Index tracks aggregate employment trends around career opportunities, hiring intentions, job satisfaction and retention. The data is compiled each month by Rasmussen Reports, LLC, an independent research firm.
Survey results are segmented by 11 metropolitan cities and four industries. The metro markets are: Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tampa, and Washington, D.C. Industry sectors surveyed are accounting and finance, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing. The Hudson Employment Index also measures employee confidence by age, gender, race and compensation levels.
Data reported in this release is based upon a national telephone survey of 9,513 working Americans during the month of October. The margin of sampling error for a survey based upon this many interviews is approximately 1 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. The data is not seasonally adjusted. It will be reviewed at year-end to determine if seasonal adjustments are appropriate. The Hudson Employment Index is a service mark owned by Hudson Highland Group, Inc.