Spherion Survey: Overall Worker Optimism Stabilizes as Personal Confidence Rebounds in February


    * Nearly Eighty Percent of Workers Remain Confident in Personal Job Security
    * Over Half of Workers Express Confidence in Ability to Find New Jobs
    * Sixty-eight Percent of Employees Believe the Economy is Weakening


FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., March 7 // PRNewswire-FirstCall // -- The Spherion® Employee Confidence Index, a monthly gauge of overall worker confidence, remained virtually unchanged in February, falling only 0.2 point to 48.4. The survey, conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of Spherion Corporation (NYSE: SFN), slightly decreased as workers' concern in the macroeconomic situation heightened. Specifically, only six percent of workers said they believe the economy is getting stronger and thirteen percent believe there are more jobs available. Both of these economic indicators fell three percentage points respectively.

Aside from this, showing a strong rebound in this month's report was workers confidence in their personal prospects. The survey indicates that 65 percent of workers expressed confidence in the future of their current employer, an increase of two percentage points since January and more than half (51 percent) of workers were confident in their ability to find a new job, an increase of one percentage point from the previous month.

The survey also showed that 78 percent of workers believe their jobs are secure, an increase of one percentage point from January and 36 percent of workers plan to change jobs in the near future, a drop of two percentage points.

"A few things became apparent from this month's report. Clearly, there are lingering concerns about the economy and job market that have impacted the overall Confidence Index. However, the bright spot out of all of this is that workers have a much more positive outlook on their own employment prospects. In fact, overall personal confidence hit a four-month high in February," said Roy Krause, president and chief executive officer of Spherion Corporation.

Krause continued, "While job growth has slowed significantly in the past six months, we're still seeing demand for skilled talent, especially in professional jobs. This search for expertise is not exclusive to one demographic area, either. There is a twofold challenge companies are facing today. Not only is there a smaller percentage of skilled workers entering the workforce, but baby boomers are also making an exit at the very same time and taking their skills and experience with them. The ability of employers to attract new workers and transfer the knowledge of exiting employees will be a defining success factor. Regardless of the macroeconomic situation, today's top workers have very specific needs and desires and only the most innovative employers that offer a wide range of growth opportunities along with work/life balance options will come out on top in the very real war for talent."

Results from the February Spherion Employment Report:

Confidence Levels Lowest Since 2004: The Spherion Employee Confidence Index dropped for the seventh consecutive month, decreasing 0.2 points to 48.2 in February. 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 and the job market in February.

Details of the Index:



Macroeconomic Confidence:
-- Thirteen percent of U.S. adult workers believe there are more jobs
available, compared to 16 percent in the previous month

-- The percentage of U.S. adult workers who believe the economy is getting
stronger decreased three percentage points to six percent in February

Personal Confidence:
-- Sixty-five percent of U.S. adult workers feel confident in the future
of their current employer, an increase of two percentage points from
January

-- The percentage of U.S. adult workers confident in their own ability to
find a new job rose one percentage point to 53 percent in February

Job Security: More Workers Believe it is Unlikely They will Lose Their Job
-- Seventy-eight percent of U.S. workers believe that it is unlikely that
they will lose their jobs in the next twelve months, an increase of one
percentage point from January

Job Transition: Fewer Workers Likely to Look for a New Job
-- Thirty-six percent of workers are likely to look for a new job in the
next twelve months, down two percentage points from last month



About the Spherion Employment Report

As part of the Spherion® Emerging Workforce® 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 February 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 (January 2008 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.

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. Spherion operates under the following brands: Spherion Staffing Services Group for administrative, clerical and light industrial workers; Technisource for technology professionals and solutions; The Mergis Group for accounting and finance and other professional positions; Todays Staffing for specialty administrative personnel; and Spherion Recruitment Process Outsourcing. To learn more, visit http://www.spherion.com/.

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®, 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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