Can You Find a Good Job These Days?

SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 19:  A "now hiring" sign is posted on a table during the Recruit Military Career Fair March 19, 2009 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. Hundreds of military veterans attended the career fair that was open only to veterans.  (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Over the past several years, we’ve heard reports of so many applicants who have been unable to find a decent job. Whether it was a college graduate who had to live at home because he or she couldn’t obtain a high-paying position, or a veteran worker who was laid off and was having trouble getting back on his or her feet, these stories became all too common during and after the Great Recession.

Is finding a good job these days possible, considering today’s economy? Or, is this a near-impossible feat?

Gallup addresses this issue in its quality job outlook survey. The research site polled 805 adults over the age of 18 from across the country, December 8-11, asking them the following question: “Thinking about the job situation in America today, would you say that it is now a good time or a bad time to find a quality job?”

Overall, more than one-third of Americans (36%) say it is a “good time” to find a quality job. This (36%) percentage is up by 6% when compared to November’s outlook, and it is also the highest percentage since before the start of the Great Recession. In early to mid-2007 — before the start of the recession — nearly one-half of Americans said that time period was a “good time” to find a quality position. Then, during 2008 and 2009 — during the recession — as few as 8% of Americans said they felt that people could land good jobs.

Other measures, like Gallup’s job creation index, also indicate a strong job market these days. Gallup’s job creation index measures the percentage of U.S. workers who say their employers are currently hiring or expanding, minus those who say their employers are downsizing or laying off workers. In September of this year, the index was at an all time high of +30. So, things seem to be looking up.

Various demographic groups seem to have a better outlook on the job market. Democrats appear to be more optimistic than Republicans when it comes to finding a quality job in today’s market, and those in the 18-49 age group seem to be more optimistic than those ages 50 and over. When it comes to college graduates, they seem to have a similar outlook to non-grads. You can see the percentage responses in the chart below.

Gallup poll quality job outlook

by Erika Rawes// data from Gallup

Do you think it’s a good time to find a quality, high-paying career?

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