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Worker Confidence Dips

Survey shows slide for sixth consecutive month

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- The Spherion Employee Confidence Index, a monthly gauge of overall worker confidence, dropped for the sixth consecutive month, falling 3.4 points to 48.6 in January.

The Index declined to its lowest level since the survey started in July 2004 and is 11.5 points lower than the level recorded a year ago.

The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion Corporation, reveals that just 16 percent of workers believe there are more jobs available and nine percent of workers believe the economy is getting stronger, both declining three percentage points from December.

Despite the drop in overall confidence, the majority of workers remain confident in their personal employment situation.

The percentage of workers who are confident in the future of their current employer is virtually unchanged, declining just one percentage point to 63 percent in January, and 52 percent are confident in their ability to find a new job.

In addition, seventy-seven percent feel they are unlikely to lose their job in the next 12 months, a slight decrease of one percentage point from December.

The survey also indicated that more workers planned to make a job change, with 38 percent saying they are likely to look for a new job in the next year, an increase of six percentage points since December.

"Clearly, the confidence of the U.S. workforce has been shaken by the recent evidence of an economic slowdown and sluggish job growth over the past few months," said Roy Krause, president and chief executive officer of Spherion Corporation. "While the drop in confidence in January isn't completely unexpected, we were somewhat surprised to see that more workers are planning to find a new job in the near future. Many attribute this increase to workers' rising fears about their current jobs, but evidence from our survey does not support this theory. We continue to see that large majorities of workers are confident in their job security and in the future of their current employers."

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