Employment survey reveals negative trends


ChartThe Randstad Employee Confidence Index for May revealed mixed but generally unfavorable employee sentiments. The confidence expressed about the ability to find a job improved, but loss of confidence in other areas brought the baseline RECI down from its April 2013 level.

In all fairness, the April RECI was the highest result going all the way back to April 2008, a date which preceded the economic implosion that hit a few months later. But it fell in May from 57.0 to 54.8. The survey was conducted for Ranstad by Harris Interactive.

The biggest drop was in the Macro Confidence Index, which measures sentiment about the overall economy and its job implications, which fell from 46.8 to 42.6.

Despite that evidence of gloom, 48% believe they could still find a job, up from 44% in April.

“While the Employee Confidence Index dipped slightly this month, there are still several positive signs in the workplace.  Employers continue to add positions at steady rates and our research shows employees are fairly optimistic about their ability to find new jobs,” said Jim Link, Managing Director at Randstad U.S.  “Also, temporary help services gained momentum in April with a gain of 30,800 jobs—the largest monthly increase in more than a year. That said, there is no doubt some sectors are healthier than others, with tremendous prospects available to those looking for positions, particularly in IT, healthcare and engineering to name a few. All eyes are certainly on Friday’s jobs report.”

 RBR-TVBR observation: This is the first downward projection we’ve seen in awhile. And the good news is that this is one measurement that was being compared to a five-year high.

2013 has been an odd year in the confidence measurement business to begin with, of course. Almost all of the surveys we monitor blamed Congress and its fiscal cliff shenanigans for dampening the normal new year burst of optimism; on the other side, the usual loss of confidence that kicks up sometime in the spring after it becomes obvious that some of the January optimism was ill-founded was also turned on its head, as it became clear that the shenanigans of Congress were not going to instantly torpedo the economy.

Anyway, we’ll be watching to see if this minor downturn in confidence is confirmed by other surveys or not.