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Americans' Ratings of the Job Market in Their Region at Highest Level Since 2008

Positive six-month regional outlooks also on the rise

NEW YORK, Aug. 26, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The economy's a funny thing, as it exists – and can be perceived differently – at so many levels. From world to nation to region, all the way down to your own household, reading economic tea leaves can have a great deal to do with where you're standing. And while ratings of President Obama's handling of the economy are holding steady, regional economic indicators are showing signs of improvement.  

Harris Poll Logo.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,537 adults surveyed online between August 13 and 18, 2014.  (Full results, including data tables, available here)

This month, three in ten Americans (30%) give President Obama positive ratings for his handling of the economy, while seven in ten (70%) give him negative ratings. This is even with last month, but down slightly from this point in the President's first term (August 2010), when 32% of Americans gave the President positive marks on the economy and just over two-thirds (68%) gave him negative ratings.

Looking ahead, one-fourth (25%) of U.S. adults expect the economy to improve in the coming year, while 46% expect that it will remain the same and roughly three in ten (29%) expect it to get worse. Expectations that it will both improve and that it will worsen have grown since June (when these levels were at 22% and 26%, respectively), while fewer Americans expect things to stay the same (down from 51% in June)

Closer to home

Looking at the home front, half of Americans (51%) say they expect their household's financial condition to remain the same in the next six months, while just under one-fourth (24%) expect it to be better and one-quarter (25%) say that it will be worse. Compared to July, this represents a slight improvement as 23% of Americans felt things would be better last month and (26%) said things would be worse; the expectation that things would remain the same was identical, at 51%.

Regional job market

Turning to the job market in one's own region, the perception that it's good (26%) is on the rise – not just in comparison to the 20% who rated it "good" in March (the last time the question was asked), but in comparison to every data point since January 2009. That's not to say the news is all good: while the 41% of Americans rating the job market in their region as "bad" is down from March, as well as from any other time since 2008, they still outpace the "good" ratings by a wide margin. Additionally, one-third of U.S. adults (34%) rate the current job market in their region neither good nor bad.

Looking to the next six months, over a fourth of Americans (27%) believe the job market in their region will get better within that time, up from under a fourth in March (23%). Two in ten U.S. adults (20%) believe it will be worse, down slightly from 22% in March. Meanwhile, just over half (53%) believe it will remain the same, a slight decrease from 55% in March.

As one might expect, regional outlooks vary by – you guessed it – region. Westerners (29%) are the most likely to say the current job market in their region is good, while their Eastern counterparts (21%) are least likely to do so. Looking at the next six months, those in the Midwest and in the South (22% each) are more likely than those in the West (15%) to anticipate the job market in their region will get worse.

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This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between August 13 and 18, 2014 among 2,537 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of The Harris Poll.

The Harris Poll® #81, August 26, 2014 
By Larry Shannon-Missal, Manager, Harris Poll Content

About Nielsen & The Harris Poll

On February 3, 2014, Nielsen acquired Harris Interactive and The Harris Poll.  Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NYSE: NLSN) is a global information and measurement company with leading market positions in marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence and mobile measurement. Nielsen has a presence in approximately 100 countries, with headquarters in New York, USA and Diemen, the Netherlands. For more information, visit www.nielsen.com.

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SOURCE The Harris Poll

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