Fewer than half of workers in 'good' jobs: survey

Fewer than half of workers in 'good' jobs: survey
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Unemployment may be hovering near a 50-year low, but only 40 percent of America’s workers say in a new survey that they are working in "good" jobs.

The Gallup poll found that 44 percent of workers surveyed said they had “mediocre” jobs while 16 percent said they are in “bad” jobs. 

Pollsters asked workers to rate their jobs on pay, job security, opportunity for advancement, benefits, stability and dignity, and combined the factors to create an index of job satisfaction.

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Not surprisingly, people that had better jobs across the slew of indicators also tended to have higher rates of life satisfaction.

The distribution of job quality was skewed along racial lines, according to Gallup, with black workers (at 25 percent) almost twice as likely to report they were in a bad job than white workers (at 13 percent). Among Hispanic respondents, 22 percent said they had bad jobs, compared to 21 percent of Asians respondents.

The results were more stark for women of color. While 11 percent of white women said they were in bad jobs, the figure for black women was 31 percent.

“We cannot rely on the unemployment rate alone to tell us what is happening with work in America,” said Jonathan Rothwell, Gallup’s principal economist.

“This survey offers a detailed look at what people value in their jobs and how they feel about their working lives, and it shows that people want more than just a job,” he added.

Courtney Brown, vice president of strategic impact for Lumina Foundation, which along with the Omidyar Network and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded and worked on the study, said the results reveal a "troubling reality."

"Many working people are in low-quality jobs that prevent them from living secure and dignified lives,” Brown said.

The question of job quality could have political implications that are masked by the low unemployment rate. While low unemployment generally helps incumbents win reelection, a decline in job quality could mean a more sour mood among the electorate come election day.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE has made the economy a central part of his reelection pitch.

A CNBC poll earlier this month found that just 42 percent of Americans approved of Trump’s handling of the economy, down 6 points from September, while those disapproving rose to 50 percent compared to 43 percent in May.

Gallup interviewed 6,633 workers for its new survey, which has a margin of error of 1.9 percentage points.