Employers continue to trim their payrolls, as evidenced by today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing a loss of 85,000 jobs in December. But while one in ten Americans is now out of work, even those who have jobs say they are increasingly unhappy.
A report released earlier this week by The Conference Board, an economic research group based in New York, found that only 45 percent of workers are satisfied with their jobs. That is the lowest recorded level in the 22 years that The Conference Board has been conducting its survey.
Unlike the unemployment trends, though, the unhappiness numbers have not risen and fallen with the overall economy.
"Through both economic boom and bust during the past two decades, our job satisfaction numbers have shown a consistent downward trend," Lynn Franco, one of the authors of the report, said in a statement accompanying the data release.
The numbers have dropped time and again since the first survey in 1987, when 61.1 percent of workers said they were satisfied with their job. In 2005, the survey found that 52.1 percent were satisfied.
The researchers also found that the dissatisfaction extends across all ages and income brackets. (Workers under 25 years old are unhappiest, though.) While the weak economy may be a factor, with employees feeling less secure in their jobs and less happy with their paychecks, the report highlights another big factor behind the workplace woe: fewer and fewer people find their jobs interesting.
“This data throws up a big, red flag because the increasing dissatisfaction is not just a ‘survivor syndrome’ artifact of having co-workers and neighbors laid off in the recession," says The Conference Board’s John Gibbons.
Then again, measuring happiness may be an inexact science. Other surveys have found that Americans are generally happy at work, and, perhaps not surprisingly, that job satisfaction rises according to income. And a state-by-state study, released last month, found that New York State residents were the least happy of all Americans. (Connecticut and New Jersey ranked just ahead of New York.)
Can that be?
So, are you satisfied with your job? Or happy in general? Sound off below.