Feb 29, 2024 - Economy

Americans' job jitters rise despite strong labor market

Share of U.S. workers expecting loss of income in the next month, by income level
Data: Morning Consult Axios Inequality Index; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' fears about their job security rose this month, even as the labor market remains historically strong, according to polling by Morning Consult.

Why it matters: The uptick in anxiety comes on the heels of a string of headlines about high-profile companies laying off workers — headlines that often get outsized attention and help shape Americans' views of the economy.

Flashback: The same thing happened last year. A series of conspicuous layoff announcements in late 2022 and early 2023 was followed by a big jump in job loss jitters (see the chart above).

Yes, but: Anecdotes aside, the U.S. labor market as a whole is in great shape. Unemployment is near record lows, and laid-off workers — many of them are in tech — tend to find new jobs fairly quickly.

What they're saying: "There's a disconnect here. I think people, in general, are on high alert," says John Leer, chief economist at Morning Consult, noting that the firm's polling shows actual losses of pay or jobs at pretty low and stable levels.

  • "So many folks in the business economics profession have been forecasting a recession ... people are on edge."

The bottom line: Companies don't make headlines for not doing layoffs.

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