The state of the American worker 2014: Attitudes about work in America


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  • In August 2013, 85% of employed people said they were completely/somewhat satisfied with the work they do @AEIPol

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  • The percentage of people who worry about being laid off near prerecession levels @AEIPol

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  • 59% of workers are completely satisfied with their amount of vacation time @AEIPol

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As we approach Labor Day weekend, we’ve assembled recent polls and historical trends on how workers feel about their jobs, benefits, co-workers, and the quality of their work life. In a related study, we look beyond concerns about work to assess economic insecurity in America. Both studies show improvement in Americans’ attitudes since the 2008 crash, although many Americans do not believe the economy has turned the corner yet.

•    Like your job?: You’re not alone. In every Gallup survey since 2001, 40 percent or more have been completely satisfied with the work they do. In August 2013, 85 percent of employed people said they were completely or somewhat satisfied with the work they do (Gallup).

•    Worried about losing it?: The percentage of people who worry about being laid off has returned to near pre-recession levels. Nineteen percent told Gallup this month they were worried about being laid off. In August 2007 at this trend’s lowest point, 14 percent expressed the same concern.

•    Easing anxiety: The substantial anxieties Americans felt about employment after the 2008 crash appear to have eased somewhat. Gallup’s August 2014 data reports that 58 percent are completely satisfied with their job security, an increase of 10 percentage points since 2012.

•    Cautious optimism: In January and April 2014 Pew questions, around six in ten said their financial situation would improve in the next 12 months. Roughly a quarter said it would get worse.

•    Comparatively speaking: This cautious optimism extends to Americans’ health care and housing financial situations. Comparable percentages express concern about gas prices, crime, and terrorism.

The state of the American worker 2014: Attitudes about work in America by American Enterprise Institute

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