Most Americans feel satisfied with their jobs

Gallup's latest polls reveal only 1 in 10 Americans say that they are dissatisfied with their jobs. It's a major jump from the results from two decades ago.

Tomorrow the government will tell us how many jobs were created last month and what the new unemployment rate is. And there will be a lot of talk about the millions of Americans who are still looking for work.

But what about the people who have jobs -- are they satisfied? That was the topic of today's Attitude Check, our weekly partnership with the polling firm Gallup.

"Forty-seven percent of Americans are completely satisfied with their jobs," said Frank Newport, editor-in-chief at Gallup. "Another 42 percent are somewhat satisfied. You put that together -- you've only got about one out of 10 Americans who tell us at any rate, who are working, that they're dissatisfied." Newport said that in 1989, only 28 percent were completely satisfied with their jobs.

Newport said Gallup pollsters broke down satisfaction into 13 separate categories and asked people whether they were completely satisfied with those parts of their jobs. It turns out the thing that Americans are least satisfied with are on-the-job stress -- only 29 percent.

"But the other things that Americans are less satisfied with at work are the amount of money they earned, retirement, chances for promotion, health benefits -- all those kind of tangibles are what workers are least satisfied with," said Newport.

What workers are most happy with? According to Newport: The physical safety of workplace conditions, and intangible things like coworkers -- and interestingly, their bosses.

As for whether these numbers might affect the election in the fall, Newport said there was absolutely no difference in job satisfaction between Republicans and Democrats.

"So we don't have one group of people out there, politically speaking, who are in angst about their jobs and are going to rush to a voting place to try and do something about it. Satisfaction is very equal. The people who are less satisfied with their jobs are Independents -- and of course, they're less likely to vote."

About the author

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

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