Poll: Hopes high for availability of quality jobs

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WASHINGTON — In another positive sign for the labor market, Americans this month showed the most optimism about the availability of quality jobs than at any time since the start of the Great Recession, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

About 36 percent of respondents said this was a good time to find a quality job, the survey found. The figure was up sharply from 30 percent in November and was the highest since November 2007, Gallup said.

Younger adults were more optimistic than older Americans about the state of the labor market, according to the survey; about 43 percent of people age 18 to 49 said it was a good time to find a quality job, compared with just 29 percent of those 50 or older.

The 805 respondents in the poll, which was taken Dec. 8-11, also were split along political lines.

Democrats and those who said they lean toward the party had a much better view of the labor market, with 47 percent saying this was a good time to find a quality job. The figure was 29 percent for Republicans and those who lean toward that party.

Gallup has been asking the quality-jobs question each month since 2001. The highest reading was 48 percent in January 2007, about a year before the Great Recession began.

The figure plunged to a low of 8 percent in late 2009. After rising into the teens in the following two years, it fell to 8 percent again in November 2011 as the recovery struggled to gain traction.

The rebound in sentiment is seen as a reflection of a strengthening job market this year, as economic growth has picked up recently.

The national unemployment rate was 5.8 percent in November, the lowest since mid-2008. And the economy added a robust 321,000 net new jobs in November, the best performance in nearly three years and the 10th straight month of more than 200,000 job gains.

Although more respondents said they have a more upbeat view of the labor market, 61 percent said it was a bad time to find a quality job. Still, the figure was an improvement from 66 percent in November and 73 percent a year ago, Gallup said.