NYT|Momentive Poll: July 2022

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NYT|Momentive Poll: July 2022

Brianna Richardson

August 5, 2022 | 5 min read

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Job market remains a workers’ market, yet few take advantage  

Despite growing recession fears, the majority of Americans (56%) say the current job market is more favorable toward employees rather than employers (40%). And most don’t anticipate that to change anytime soon: just over half (51%) expect the job market to remain favorable toward employees compared with employers (44%).  

  • Younger adults feel otherwise: just 42% of those 18-34 say the current job market is more favorable toward employees compared with 57% of those 35-54 and 65% of those 55 and up 

This comes as 52% of Americans say now is a good time to look for a new job, up slightly from June (47%), but still down eight points from April (60%).

Yet, few are taking advantage of the hot job market. Among those who are employed, 21% considered quitting in the last six months while 10% actually quit their job for a new job, down slightly from February (when 14% quit their job for a new one). Slightly fewer (3%) quit without going back to work right away and 4% were laid off, roughly on par with the Bureau of Labor Statistics (2.8% quit their jobs in June at a rate that’s been elevated over the last few months). 

Despite hot job market, few workers feel ‘better off’ now than before 

Despite a hot job market, most (45%) workers say that when thinking about their job situation they’re neither better nor worse off than they were a year ago. Around a third (32%) say they’re better off while 21% say they’re worse off now. 

  • Young adults take the lead: 44% of those 18-34 say they’re better off now than before while just 29% of those 35-55 and 22% of those 55+ say the same 
  • Democrat workers are almost twice as likely as Republican workers to say they’re better off now than before (41% vs. 23%)  

This comes as nearly half of workers (47%) say they’ve received a pay raise in the last year, but it has not kept up with inflation, on par with June when 49% said the same. Just 13% of workers say their raises have kept up with inflation while 29% haven’t received a raise at all and 9% say they’ve taken a pay cut, all roughly unchanged from June.

Similarly, the vast majority (78%) say they haven’t gotten a promotion in the last year. But, among the few (20%) that have received a promotion, over half (55%) say that when thinking about their job situation, they’re better off now than they were a year ago – more than double the number of those who haven’t received a promotion (26%).  

Pay raises provide some reprieve, too: 73% of workers who received pay raises that kept up with inflation say that when thinking about their job situation, they feel better off now than they were a year ago. 

Yet, those whose pay raises didn’t keep up with inflation feel particularly sidelined: just 31% of those who received pay raises that didn’t keep up with inflation say that when thinking about their job situation, they feel better off now than they were a year ago – much more in line with those who didn’t receive a pay raise at all (20%) or took a pay cut (15%). 

Americans nearly split on which party does a better job handling the economy 

Americans are nearly split on which political party they trust to do a better job handling the economy: 44% trust the Democratic party while 47% trust the Republican party, roughly unchanged from a May 2019 NYT|SurveyMonkey poll (44% trusted the Democratic Party; 45% trusted the Republican party). 

Naturally, almost all Americans side with their own party: 90% of Democrats look to the Democratic Party while 94% of Republicans trust their own party. But, among Independents, more now (40%) than before (35% each sided with Democrats and Republicans in May 2019) side with the Republicans rather than Democrats (34%).

Political differences aside, many Americans are feeling the economic strain: over a third (36%) say they benefit from the economy “less than most others”, up 12 points from May 2019 when just 24% said the same (but was conducted during a year of strong economic growth). Around half (53%) of Americans say they benefit from the economy “about as much as most others,” while few (9%) say they benefit “more than most others”. This sentiment remains true for many Americans, regardless of race or gender, but shifts notably by political party: 

  • 42% of Republicans and a nearly equal number of Independents (44%) say they benefit “less than most others” – almost double the number of Democrats who say the same (26%)

Inflation concerns linger as majorities disapprove of Biden’s, Fed’s handling 

Inflation remains a top concern for Americans as almost all (91%) say they’re concerned about inflation, unchanged from June (92%). Amid ongoing concerns, President Biden continues to receive low marks for his handling of inflation: just 32% of Americans approve of the way he is handling inflation, on par with June (31%). 

The Federal Reserve takes a hit too: few (32%) approve of the way the Federal Reserve is handling inflation, equal to Biden’s rating and relatively stable from June (30%). Yet, approval varies greatly by political party: 51% of Democrats approve of the way the Federal Reserve is handling inflation – nearly three times the number of Republicans (18%) who say the same.     

But, even amid ongoing economic woes, over half of Americans (53%) aren’t concerned that they, or someone else in their household, will be laid off or lose their job in the next few months, up slightly from the months leading up to the pandemic in November 2019 (57%) and January 2021 (61%).

  • Employed adults and adults who aren’t employed are nearly in agreement: 53% of employed adults aren’t concerned about layoffs vs. 55% of adults who aren’t employed 
  • Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to be concerned about layoffs (50% vs. 34%) 

Consumer confidence ticks up, still hovers near all-time low 

Consumer confidence ticks up slightly to 35 out of 100, but still hovers near the all-time low set in June (33 out of 100), almost mimicking the trend of The University of Michigan’s consumer confidence index which eked up from 50.0 in June to 51.1 in July. In these latest data: 

  • 26% expect their family to be financially better off in a year from now, a slight increase from June (23%) 
  • 17% expect business conditions to be good over the next 12 months, a three-point increase from June (14%) 
  • Even still, 69% expect periods of widespread unemployment or depression to occur in the next five years, roughly unchanged from June (71%)    

The index ticks up as confidence among Republicans increases to 24 – up 5 points from June (19).

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