March 16th, 2009
06:00 AM ET
11 years ago

Unemployment concerns triple over past year

Rising job losses are sparking widespread anxiety.

Rising job losses are sparking widespread anxiety.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that worries about unemployment have tripled over the past year.

Thirty-six percent of those questioned in a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday morning say unemployment is the most important economic issue facing the country today, three times higher than the 13 percent who felt the same way last April.

Unemployment is the top economic concern in the new poll, followed by inflation at 20 percent, the mortgage crisis at 16 percent, the stock market at 14 percent and taxes at 11 percent.

Last April, rising prices and the rate of inflation was the most important economic issue facing the country, cited by 47 percent of poll respondents.

"Last spring, Americans were spooked by rising gas prices," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Now they're spooked by high unemployment figures and the growing concern that good jobs aren't available."

The nation’s unemployment rate stood at 8.1 percent in February, up half a percentage point from January, and there are worries that the jobless rate could break into double digits by the end of the year. The unemployment level is the highest in more than 25 years. Four point four million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007.

The poll also indicates that the economy remains the most important issue facing the country today. Sixty-three percent say the economy’s their top concern, with health care a distant second at nine percent, followed by the federal budget deficit at eight percent, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan at 6 percent, education and terrorism tied at 5 percent, and energy policy at 2 percent.

The last year has seen a striking loss of confidence among American workers. A majority have now lost confidence that they could find a good job at their current rate of pay if they were had to look for one. And the number who are worried that there will be layoffs at their workplace has grown significantly.

"When wage-earners lose confidence, it has ripple effects throughout the economy," says Holland. "Consumption patterns are based in part on workers' prospects of keeping their jobs or finding new ones. Right now, Americans workers remain confident that they will keep their own jobs, but many see layoffs in the future at their workplace and they aren't confident that other good jobs are out there."

Last March, a majority of workers said they were very confident that there would not be layoffs at their place of employment, but only 38 percent feel that way now. The number of people very confident that their boss won’t lay them off over the next six months now stands at 57 percent, down 12 points from last March.

And Americans are split on whether they could find another job if they are laid off, with 49 percent confident they could land another good job and 51 percent not confident - a 10 point increase from a year ago.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll of 1,019 Americans was conducted by phone Thursday through Sunday. The survey’s sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Filed under: CNN poll • Economy
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Neutralizer

    Unemployed? With car loans and home mortgage to pay? Don't worry, Obambi will rescue you. Start falling in line to welfare offices near you.

    For them youngin's who voted for Obambi last year especially college students, don't expect Mom, Dad, Grandpa, Gradma to bail you out – you've put them between a rock and a hard place. The money they're suppose to pay for your holidays, clothes etc etc will now be use to pay for increase in their taxes.

    March 16, 2009 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  2. RJ CA

    CNN – where is your article featured on other news outlets yesterday - that Obama’s economic adviser, Romer, said on Meet the Press that "the fundamentals of our economy are sound." Isn’t this what McCain said during the campaign – and Obama relentlessly attacked him for that comment?

    March 16, 2009 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. Veteran in Kansas

    It cost money to make money. We need to generate new jobs and retain those that we have, these in turn generate income, which results in spending. Spending results in growth which in turn generates more jobs, more income and more growth. Currently, there is no going back, confidence must be instilled in the job market and in consumers.

    It's great after all these years where econmists have been screaming for American consumers to save more of their money that Americans are finally doing so, unfortuently they have chosen to do so at a time when we really need them to exhibit some of that good old American uncontrolled spending to put us back in cylce.

    Yes, Americans are concerned about losing thier jobs. Do you drive an American car, or at least one that was manufactured within the USA. How about you spending habits, are you supporting local buisnesses and helping the local economy? Someone has to do it, if you are not willing to support the nations econmic growth in the form of spending, then the federal government is going to have to do so, and yes you are going to pay in the end, but would you rather pay with a job or without a job.

    March 16, 2009 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  4. New Day

    I'm guessing that all of you that added your own political slant to this story are doing well. Being out of work isn't a rep or dem issue. Everyone in power is to blame for our situation. As I remember, for the last 8 years (Bush and Obama), there has only been one plan on the table while the opposition complained yet presented no concrete alternative (yelling "tax cuts" or "get us out of Iraq" doesnt count as a plan).

    I think the more pressing issue at this point is to make sure that we all succeed regardless of who's plan it is.

    March 16, 2009 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  5. New Day

    Veteran in Kansas – I couldn't have said it better myself

    March 16, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. ObamaYesWeCan

    No need to worry, Obama is President now. He'll take money from those greedy rich people and give it to us. As Obama said in one of his inspiring speeches, no one will ever go hungry under his watch, even for all the homeless poor people. So just relax everyone and view this as a long vacation time that we are all entitled to.

    March 16, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  7. heather

    Pls someone help me. It seems to me that things really started to get bad when gas was so high.bc everyone had to charge more for their stuff to cover more money for shipping. Ppl had 2 choose btween gas for work or food. Then all of a sudden gas went backdown.sum one pls help me understand why. Thnk you

    March 16, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  8. Alan Russell

    and I quote............When any form of government becomes destructive to these ends it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it ,and institute new government......................................What happened to these skillfully crafted words!!!!!!!

    March 16, 2009 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. Kevin in Ohio

    If you think Unemployment is bad now, wait till the Unions come in with Card Check. Lay offs galore. That will be the only way for business to counter the higher costs of unionization.

    March 16, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  10. katiec

    Am glad to see small business getting help. They are the backbone of America.
    For those who complain to CNN about President Obama, open your eyes. CNN supports and enhances the right wing. Yesterdays interview of Cheney by John King was a good example. With all newspapers out there King quoted Human Events which is extreme right wing as you can get. CNN';s motto is to "keep the Democrats
    honest". Where were they the previous eight years? Oh, forgot, their republicans were in office.

    March 16, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  11. Typical White Person

    Liberals seem to have cornered the market on wrath, envy, and sloth with their "wealth redistribution" program and their campaign to knock down anyone who disagrees with them.

    God help us...

    March 16, 2009 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  12. Typical White Person

    Give Obama a break!!!

    He is creating as many government jobs as quickly as he possibly can!

    March 16, 2009 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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