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After getting hit with higher payroll taxes due to ongoing federal budget negotiations, U.S. workers may be feeling uncertain about the job market and the economy, according to Randstad’s latest Employee Confidence Index.
The Index, which tracks U.S. workers’ perspectives around jobs and the economy each month, decreased 3.3 points in January to 52.1. Only 26 percent of employees surveyed believe the economy is getting stronger, down five percentage points from the previous month’s reading. On a brighter note, the Index remained above the confidence threshold of 50.0 throughout the past year.
Higher Taxes Dampen Workers’ Outlook on Economy
Many economists and other widely cited confidence indices, such as the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index, point to the increase in payroll taxes having an effect on workers’ sentiment,” said Randstad US managing director Jim Link. “It is possible this tax hike could dampen consumer confidence for the near future and our findings are clearly showing an impact on January’s numbers already.
Workers Are Wondering: Where Are The Jobs?
According to the survey, more than have of employees (53 percent) believe there are fewer jobs available, down seven percentage points from the previous month’s reading. Still, more than 43 percent of workers indicated confidence around their ability to find a new job.
“Workers should also note other positive signs of improvement in industries such as retail, manufacturing and healthcare, as well as increased activity in the housing market,” Links said. “Many of these industries are anticipating steady growth, even in the midst of changes to taxes and spending cuts
Workers Report Feeling Confident In Their Current Employers
Even with decreased confidence in the job market and economy, most employees (72 percent) feel secure in their current jobs while a majority of workers (61 percent) expressed confidence in the future of their current employers, up two percentage points from the previous month’s readings.
“As workers and employers alike keep watchful eyes on the debt ceiling debate and other fiscal uncertainties, we believe variable or temporary labor will be a valuable, turnkey solution to any anticipated market volatility,” Link said.