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Small Business Digest


U.S. Job Satisfaction Dips Noticeably

The Hudson Employment Index (SM) fell 2.6 points to 102.7 in December, primarily as a result of lowered job satisfaction and increased job loss concerns. The monthly measure lost ground following a nearly four-point rise in November. It also fell short of last December's 103.4 Index.

The Hudson Employment Index is monthly survey of 9,000 US workers, compiled by Rassmussen Reports. It is focused primarily on worker satisfaction and is a respected gauge.

However, despite the decline, hiring expectations held steady and December's Index was generally in line with readings throughout the second half of the year.

As the chart shows, just 73 percent of workers said they were happy with their current job, a two-point drop from November and the lowest reading since August 2005. Last year at this juncture, 75 percent of workers expressed job satisfaction.

"Finding a new job tops many workers' new year's resolutions," said Steve Wolfe, senior vice president, Hudson. "Increased job dissatisfaction, coupled with extremely low unemployment, suggests many workers are poised to explore new career options in 2007." Last month, a Hudson survey found that 39 percent of workers were very or somewhat likely to look for a new job in 2007.

Other findings included:

  • Expected hiring remained steady in December as 30% of workers anticipated their firms would hire in coming months.

  • However, the number of workers worried about losing their jobs rose from 17 to 18% this month. This trend was exacerbated among private firm managers, who reported a three-point increase in job loss concerns, as well as a three-point increase in expected layoffs.

  • Evaluations of personal finances also took a slight hit in December, with workers who said they were good or excellent falling one percent to 44% and those who said their finances were getting better also falling one percent, to 41%. These sentiments contrast with the same time last year, when financial ratings and expectations both rose noticeably at year-end.
  • The Index closed 2006 with a 103.7 average, compared to a 2005 average of 101.5. "Despite the downturn in worker confidence at the end of the year, 2006's average ended more than two points higher than 2005's -- not a bad showing, all in all," summarized Wolfe.

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