Spherion Survey Shows Dip in Overall Worker Confidence for Sixth Consecutive Month; Workers Still Feel Secure in Current Jobs

- Fewer Workers Believe the Economy is Getting Stronger
- Majority of Workers Confident in Future of Employer
- Seventy-seven Percent of Employees Feel Their Jobs are Secure


FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 1 // PRNewswire-FirstCall // -- The Spherion(R) Employee Confidence Index, a monthly gauge of overall worker confidence, dropped for the sixth consecutive month, falling 3.4 points to 48.6 in January. The Index declined to its lowest level since the survey started in July 2004 and is 11.5 points lower than the level recorded a year ago. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of Spherion Corporation (NYSE: SFN), reveals that just 16 percent of workers believe there are more jobs available and nine percent of workers believe the economy is getting stronger, both declining three percentage points from December.

Despite the drop in overall confidence, the majority of workers remain confident in their personal employment situation. The percentage of workers who are confident in the future of their current employer is virtually unchanged, declining just one percentage point to 63 percent in January, and 52 percent are confident in their ability to find a new job. In addition, seventy-seven percent feel they are unlikely to lose their job in the next 12 months, a slight decrease of one percentage point from December.

The survey also indicated that more workers planned to make a job change, with 38 percent saying they are likely to look for a new job in the next year, an increase of six percentage points since December.

"Clearly, the confidence of the U.S. workforce has been shaken by the recent evidence of an economic slowdown and sluggish job growth over the past few months," said Roy Krause, president and chief executive officer of Spherion Corporation. "While the drop in confidence in January isn't completely unexpected, we were somewhat surprised to see that more workers are planning to find a new job in the near future. Many attribute this increase to workers' rising fears about their current jobs, but evidence from our survey does not support this theory. We continue to see that large majorities of workers are confident in their job security and in the future of their current employers."

Krause, continued, "As we have seen in previous economic downturns, today's workforce maintains a high level of personal confidence that isn't easily swayed by changes in the macroeconomic situation. This should serve as a strong message to employers who may think today's environment allows them to turn their attention away from recruiting and retention. Workers' confidence and desire for change, coupled with current talent shortages and significant demographic changes on the horizon, will ensure that the battle for talent will continue in 2008."

Results from the January Spherion Employment Report:

Confidence Levels Hit Lowest Level Since 2004: The Spherion Employee Confidence Index dropped for the sixth consecutive month, decreasing 3.4 points to 48.6 in January. The Index, which measures workers' confidence in their personal employment situation and optimism in the macroeconomic environment, reveals that more workers were apprehensive about the economy, job market and the future of their current employers.


Details of the Index:
Macroeconomic Confidence:
- 16 percent of U.S. adult workers believe there are more jobs
available, compared to 19 percent in the previous month.
- The percentage of U.S. adult workers who believe the economy is
getting stronger decreased to nine percent from 12 percent in
December.
Personal Confidence:
- 63 percent of U.S. adult workers feel confident in the future of
their current employer, a slight drop of one percentage point from
December.
- The percentage of U.S. adult workers confident in their own ability
to find a new job fell three percentage points from last month to 52
percent.
Job Security: More Workers Believe it is Unlikely they will Lose Their
Job
- 77 percent of U.S. workers believe that it is unlikely that they
will lose their jobs in the next twelve months, a slight decrease of
one percentage point from December.

Job Transition: More Workers Likely to Look for a New Job
- 38 percent of workers are likely to look for a new job in the next
12 months, up six points from last month.


About the Spherion Employment Report

As part of the Spherion(R) Emerging Workforce(R) Series of employment surveys, the monthly Spherion Employment Report provides a snapshot of the latest workforce trends across the country and is issued in conjunction with state and national labor market releases. Three key indices are measured: the Spherion Job Security Index, which captures how likely respondents think it is that they will lose their job or that their job will be eliminated in the next 12 months; the Spherion Job Transition Index, which captures how likely respondents are to look for a new job in the next 12 months and the Employee Confidence Index that measures employees' overall confidence in the economy, their employer and their ability to find other employment. The Employee Confidence Index is calculated from the results of four components that reflect these aspects of employee confidence. For each component item a 'score' is calculated by taking the difference of the percentage of positive responses and the percentage of negative responses. These four scores are then averaged to indicate an overall level of employee confidence, with each score ranking on a scale from 0 (no confidence) to 100 (complete confidence). A reading above 50 indicates a positive confidence level.

Methodology

This January 2008 Spherion Employment Tracker was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of Spherion Corporation between January 7-9 and 16-18, 2008 among a U.S. sample of 3,137 employed adults, aged 18 years and older (December 2007 n=2,827). Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, education and region. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates.

These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the U.S. adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About Spherion

Spherion Corporation (NYSE: SFN) is a leading recruiting and staffing company that provides integrated solutions to meet the evolving needs of companies and job candidates. As an industry pioneer for more than 60 years, Spherion has sourced, screened and placed millions of individuals in temporary, temp-to-hire and full-time jobs. Positions range from administrative and light industrial to a host of professions that include accounting/finance, information technology, engineering, manufacturing, legal, human resources and sales/marketing.

With approximately 700 locations in the United States and Canada, Spherion delivers innovative workforce solutions that improve business performance. Spherion provides its services to more than 8,000 customers, from Fortune 500 companies to a wide range of small and mid-size organizations. Employing more than 300,000 people annually through its network, Spherion is one of North America's largest employers. To learn more, visit http://www.spherion.com. For up- to-date career tips and trends, visit Spherion's career blog, The Big Time(SM), at http://www.spherion.com/careerblog.

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the largest and fastest-growing market research firms in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll(R), one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its North American, European and Asian offices, and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at http://www.harrisinteractive.com.

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at http://www.harrispollonline.com.

SOURCE Spherion Corporation

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