Gloomy about the economy and inflation, Americans remain upbeat about jobs.


Americans are worried about inflation, pessimistic about the economy overall and upset about the way their leaders are handling it. But they still feel pretty good about the job market.

Fifty-two percent of Americans say it is a good time to find a job right now, compared with just 11 percent who say it is a bad time, according to a survey conducted last month for The New York Times by the online research firm Momentive. (The rest say the situation is “mixed,” or didn’t answer the question.) Fifty-six percent say the job market is more favorable to employees than employers, and a majority think that these conditions will continue for at least six months.

Most Americans are not worried, either, that their jobs are in jeopardy. Forty-four percent of those surveyed said they were concerned that they or a member of their household would be laid off in the next few months, up only modestly from 37 percent just before the pandemic.

“People see the job market as still a little bit of a bright spot,” said Brianna Richardson, a research scientist for Momentive.

The rosy outlook on jobs is a striking contrast to Americans’ views of the economy writ large. More than 90 percent of people in the survey said they were concerned about inflation, and a majority said they were worse off financially than a year earlier. Only 17 percent said overall business conditions in the country were somewhat or very good.

Ms. Richardson said the results suggested that bad news on inflation was eclipsing good news on jobs in Americans’ perceptions of the economy. That appears to be true for people’s own finances as well: Even though they see it as an employee-friendly job market, most workers say they haven’t gotten raises that keep up with rising prices.

Americans take a dim view of the way the White House and the Federal Reserve have handled inflation, although the survey was conducted before Senator Joe Manchin III of West Virginia signed on to a bill that Democrats say would help reduce inflation. But those polled don’t necessarily think Republicans would do better. Forty-four percent of respondents said they thought Democrats would do a better job with the economy, versus 47 percent who preferred Republicans on the issue. Those numbers were little changed from the last time the question was asked, in May 2019.

About the survey: The data in this article came from an online survey of 5,881 adults conducted by the polling firm Momentive from July 18 to July 25. The company selected respondents at random from the more than two million people who take surveys on its platform each day. Responses were weighted to match the demographic profile of the population of the United States. The survey has a modeled error estimate (similar to a margin of error in a standard telephone poll) of plus or minus two percentage points, so differences of less than that amount are statistically insignificant.