In advance of Friday's jobs report, the public's assessment of job availability in their local communities has improved modestly. But that has done nothing to boost overall economic optimism.
For Americans, jobs are only part of the economic picture: 56% say their family's incomes are falling behind the cost of living. That is about as many as said their incomes were falling behind in October 2008 (57%), during the Wall Street financial crisis. And 45% say they have experienced one or more serious financial hardships -- such as a job layoff, an inability to pay for health care or trouble with a collection agency -- over the past year. Among those with low family incomes (less than $30,000 a year), fully 66% have confronted at least one serious financial problem.
The new national survey by the Pew Research Center, conducted August 20-24 among 1,501 adults finds that 33% say there are plenty of jobs available where they live, while 58% say that jobs are difficult to find. The share saying jobs are available has ticked up from 29% in July and 27% in April. Nearly two years ago, in December 2012, just 22% said there were plenty of jobs locally.