Fully 27 percent of Americans now say they are optimistic about the availability of quality jobs in the U.S., the highest percentage since January 2008, a Gallup study published Sept. 18 found.
The optimism increased from 21 percent in August and 25 and 26 percent in June and July, respectively.
But along with the five-year high is a new low — the percentage of low-income earners (less than $30,000) who express the same optimism. Nineteen percent of lower-income Americans say now is a good time to find a quality job, unchanged from August, but down from 26 percent in July and 30 percent in June.
In the same survey, 33 percent of upper-income ($75,000 or more) Americans and 26 percent of middle-income ($30,000- $74,999) Americans expressed optimism, both increases from August. Gallup’s findings seem to echo a recently published Associated Press analysis that found the gap in employment rates between America’s highest- and lowest-income families is the widest in the 10 years of data the AP collected.
That analysis claimed unemployment rates for the lowest-income families (earning less than $20,000 a year) rose to 21 percent, nearly matching overall unemployment during the Great Depression. The highest-income families (earning more than $150,000 a year) have an unemployment rate of 3.2 percent, which economists consider full employment.
Most optimistic participants in the Gallup survey identified with the Democratic party or fell into a category such as young adults ages 18 to 29, blacks and/or Hispanics that commonly makes up the Democratic party. Republicans and seniors 65 and older expressed the least optimism about the job market. Thirty-one percent of men and 23 percent of women said now is a good time to find a quality job in the U.S.