Americans' bleak outlook on jobs

@CNNMoney August 12, 2011: 6:42 AM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Americans are feeling pretty grim about jobs these days.

Only 29% of respondents to a poll released Friday believe more jobs will be available in their communities a year from now.

On top of that, a mere 44% said they believe that the same number of jobs will be available. And 26% take the even bleaker viewpoint that jobs will decline, according to the CNN/ORC poll.

As a point of comparison: The current frontline jobs forecast is slightly more pessimistic than Americans felt during the recession in 1991, and roughly the same as in the recession in 1982. (View the jobs picture in your state)

The CNN/ORC survey -- conducted Aug. 5 to 7 -- further found that seven in 10 respondents believe there are few jobs available in their area. Just 24% cited a normal number of jobs, and only 4% said many jobs are available.

It comes as no surprise that the labor market continues to struggle.

Thursday actually brought a ray of light, when the government reported that the number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits fell last week, dipping below 400,000 for the first time in four months.

But the unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 9.1%, and signs abound that the economic recovery has hit a rough patch.

Last month, only 58.1% of Americans were employed for ages 16 and over. That's a significant drop from before the recession, which began in December 2007 and lasted 18 months, and the lowest employment percentage since 1983.

A recent CNNMoney survey of economists found that the average chance of a new recession occurring to be about 25% -- up from a 15% chance only three months ago.

In a gloomy assessment, the Federal Reserve on Tuesday said the recovery is "considerably slower" than expected, and announced it would keep interest rates low for another two years in a bid to prop up the economy.

Last Friday, Standard & Poor's downgraded the United States' long-held AAA credit rating. Global stock markets have been rocked since, experiencing dramatic swings both high and low. The Dow surged 423 points on Thursday, after a 520-point plunge the day before. To top of page

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