Gallup released a new survey Wednesday that had some potentially surprising results: Workers are much more satisfied with their jobs. They are happier with their wages, their benefits, their job safety and a host of other characteristics, too. But the largest improvement came in job security, which surged to a record-high:
On Monday, Gallup released a different survey on worker fears about being laid off. After the financial crisis, workers became much more fearful that they would be fired or have their benefits cuts. Even as the economy slowly recovered over the past few years, that didn’t change—until now.
Finally, in 2014, workers are becoming less scared of being fired or seeing their hours cut back. Their fears have not returned to pre-crisis levels, but it’s another sign that the economic growth is picking up. To be fair, the margin of error is six percentage points in each of these surveys. That’s a lot. But the results also match up with other economic data. For instance, the Commerce Department releases data each month on the number of layoffs as a percentage of total employment—the layoff rate. It reached a record high during the Great Recession, but has fallen consistently since then and is now actually below pre-recession levels.
This doesn’t mean the economy is back to full health. The most recent Gallup poll found that only 31 percent of workers were satisfied with their earnings, a two point improvement over 2013, but a dismal percentage nonetheless. And there are still millions of unemployed Americans looking for work. But at least those with jobs are finally feeling less scared about losing them.
Danny Vinik is a staff writer at The New Republic.