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Americans still feel gloomy about the economy

Job seekers arrive at the National Career Fairs' San Francisco South Career Fair on July 16, 2012 in San Mateo, Calif.

Here in the U.S., jobless claims rose unexpectedly last week -- that's not good news. Nevertheless, unemployment claims are still floating near their lowest levels since the start of the financial crisis. Hiring is also ticking up this summer, if slowly.

Does any of this affect our state of mind? Not really, says Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport.

People are still worried about being laid off, and they're even more worried about having their benefits cut. One group whose outlook is generally better: Workers of higher socio-economic status, such as those with college degrees. Newport says 18 percent of college graduates say they're worried about being laid off, compared with 34 percent of non-college graduates.

"The higher up you are on the education scale, you're a little less likely to be worried," Newport says.

There are some big geographic differences. Workers are upbeat in North Dakota, for instance, because there's such strong demand for employees in the oil and gas industries.

"Of course, people in other parts of the country are much more worried," Newport says.

About the author

Frank Newport, Ph.D., is the editor-in-chief at Gallup and appears regularly on Marketplace.
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