Randstad’s most recent U.S. Employee Confidence Index has shown that U.S. workers have experienced a decline in optimism from January to February, but confidence is still up over the year. The Index dipped from 56.7 in January to 54.0 (a five month high), indicating that employees are less confident in their employers, job prospects, and the economy at large. However, more workers have indicated that they are likely to conduct a job search over the next 12 months.
“Recent, positive economic reports seem to conflict with the dip in employee confidence,” said Jim Link, Chief HR Officer, Randstad North America. “However, examination of the numbers helps explain the disparity. For example, recent data shows expanded manufacturing activity, improved construction investment and a simultaneous rise in consumer spending. At the same time, increased energy costs from recent cold weather significantly impacted the higher-than-expected consumer outlay, and discretionary spending actually slowed. Despite improved economic reports, employees remain cautious as hiring shows steady improvement.”
Consumer spending is predicted to grow throughout 2014 and economic expansion is expected to grow to its highest levels since the end of the recession in 2009. Link says that the decline in employee confidence is probably not a growing trend. Over the past year, the Employee Confidence Index has fluctuated from a low of 52.1 in January 2013 to a peak of 58.0 in August.