Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Americans Not Whistling While They Work

In Americans' job satisfaction falls to record low, the AP is reporting on a matter that is more important than quarter-to-quarter jiggles in industrial output. Here are some excerpts:

Even Americans who are lucky enough to have work in this economy are becoming more unhappy with their jobs, according to a new survey that found only 45 percent of Americans are satisfied with their work.

That was the lowest level ever recorded by the Conference Board research group in more than 22 years of studying the issue. In 2008, 49 percent of those surveyed reported satisfaction with their jobs. . .

"It says something troubling about work in America. It is not about the business cycle or one grumpy generation," says Linda Barrington, managing director of human capital at the Conference Board, who helped write the report, which was released Tuesday.

Workers have grown steadily more unhappy for a variety of reasons:

-- Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting.

-- Incomes have not kept up with inflation. . .

One clue that may explain workers' growing dissatisfaction: Only 51 percent now find their jobs interesting -- another low in the survey's 22 years. In 1987, nearly 70 percent said they were interested in their work.

"What's really disturbing about growing job dissatisfaction is the way it can play into the competitive nature of the U.S. work force down the road and on the growth of the U.S. economy -- all in a negative way," says Lynn Franco, another author of the report and director of the Conference Board's Consumer Research Center.

A bored workforce that is unhappy with its pay is not a productive one. Chalk up another headwind for the economy and for society at large.

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