The past couple months have seen a gradual decline in the unemployment rate and small signs of blossoming life in the job market. The numbers are looking better and that alone can instill optimism in the hearts of those who before, could see no silver lining.
Optimism is a powerful tool. Thinking positively and being hopeful that the situation will get better can make all the difference. When you think positively, likely you will take heed of positive results and not dwell on the negative. Thankfully, it seems as though workers in the job market were much more optimistic in the fourth quarter of 2011 than any other time since 2008. Furthermore, according to the Central Valley Business Time, in the fourth quarter of 2011 pessimism in the unemployed fell to its biggest low since 2008 with only 21 percent of job seekers stating they were “unlikely” to find a job in the next six months. That percentage is down 11 points from the third quarter of 2011 where 32 percent said the same thing. A decrease of that size is important to note.
The increase in optimism is attributed to employees seeing less cut backs in the workplace and an unemployment rate that is the lowest it has been for two and a half years at 8.6 percent. It’s obvious that when employers are making vast cut backs and lay-offs, employees get nervous and stressed for fear of losing their job. While 2011 saw a lot of cuts and lay-offs by employers, it also saw a small uplift towards the end of the year. As Spark News reported in December, more employers than last year said they would be hosting office Christmas parties and giving out bonuses for the holidays. Specifically, 40 percent of businesses said they would give employees bonuses-up from 33 percent of 2010. Similarly, 58 percent of employers planned holiday parties which was up six percent from 2010.
When employees feel more secure and comfortable in their job, they spend more, circulating more money through the market and improving the economy. While it’s great to take notice and rejoice in the increased optimism of employees, one can’t truly say we have survived the fall until experts report several quarters of employees and job seekers being steadily optimistic about their situation. Much like editor-in-chief of The Central New York Business Journal Adam Rombel’s opinion on the decreased unemployment rate of October, numbers and statistics can be misleading. Still, it’s always great to see vast improvements in the market and any signs of life and uplift that can instill optimism in the workforce of the country is a good sign.