If you’re like a lot of people, the recent spate of worrisome economic news got you thinking about one thing: job security.
Unemployment emerged as the most important problem facing Americans, according to a recent Gallup poll.
Another survey, released by the employer review site Glassdoor a few days ago, found that more than half of employees think recent economic news and stock market swings will affect their career, job or job search.
We’ll get a sense of how the job market is faring on Friday, when the government releases its monthly employment report for September. The news last month wasn’t good: The economy created zero jobs in August, and the unemployment rate stood at 9.1 percent.
That may be one reason employment is top-of-mind for many people.
The Gallup poll, released in mid-September, found that 39 percent of Americans named unemployment as the biggest problem facing the country today, a 10 percentage point leap over the previous month.
By comparison, 28 percent said the economy was the biggest problem, and 12 percent named the federal budget deficit.
Frank Newport, Gallup’s editor-in-chief, said the economy and the job market have both topped the list in that poll for quite some time. But last month, as the stock market floundered and talk of a double-dip recession increased, the job market seemed to be the first thing coming to mind for many people.
“I would not go so far as to say jobs are the only issue, but for many people jobs are symbolic of the health of the economy,” he said.
Newport said its one of many signs of how people are feeling bedraggled lately by the nation’s economic and political situation.
“There’s a lot of built up anxiety and angst in the American public,” he said.
Rusty Rueff, a workplace expert with the jobs website Glassdoor, said their recent poll found that only 16 percent of people were worried about getting laid off, the lowest level in more than a year. But many workers were nervous that the recent market swings and bad economic news could affect their job in some way, such as their ability to advance of how big their paycheck is.
Rueff thinks workers may think that their job is secure because their employers are already operating on such a shoestring that they can’t cut any more. Still, the weak job market does appear to have people worried about whether they could find a good new job if they had to.
“Layoff concerns have dropped, but they are scared to death about what happens to them if, in fact, they do get laid off,” he said.
Not surprisingly, the recent market volatility had a bigger effect on people who are currently out of a job. More than 90 percent of unemployed jobseekers said they were worried that the recent events would hurt their job search, according to the poll.
The survey of nearly 2,300 people was conducted by Harris Interactive for Glassdoor.