U.S. Worker Confidence Index Sees First Increase of 2020 in Q3 Despite Modest Economic Gains and Persistent COVID-19 Impact

Happy group of co-workers standing in officePHILADELPHIA, PA – Following a historic decrease of 18.8 points in the second quarter of 2020, the national Worker Confidence Index™ (WCI) experienced a modest rebound in the third quarter. The Index, a survey of U.S. workers from HRO Today Magazine and Yoh, the leading international talent and outsourcing company owned by Day & Zimmermann, gauges full-time workers’ perceptions of the four key aspects of worker confidence: the perceived likelihood of job loss, the perceived likelihood of a promotion, the perceived likelihood of a raise and the perceived overall trust in company leadership.


In the third quarter of 2020, the WCI increased 7.7 points to 101.2. This marked the first increase of 2020, and occurred despite a year-over-year decrease of 15.5 points and modest gains from the economy at large. This trend follows similar trajectories seen in the national unemployment rate, which fell to 7.9% in September and has experienced only a partial recovery overall since dropping in April.


In the third quarter, all four of the indices that comprise the WCI increased, with the likelihood of a promotion and the likelihood of a raise increasing the most at 18.1 points and 16 points, respectively. While trust in company leadership remains at pre-pandemic levels, the job security index, up 1.9 points in Q3, is still nearly 20 points lower than it was at the same time in 2019.


“As the COVID-19 pandemic has extended longer than many workers and employers may have initially predicted, many businesses have learned to contend with the realities of the remote workplace or adapt office spaces in an effort to eventually resume face-to-face work or some form of normalcy,” said Kathleen King, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Solutions, Yoh.


“However, the economic and employment realities of this pandemic mean businesses must continue to focus on the well-being of their workers, especially given the expiration of federal aid provided through The CARES Act. A proper workforce strategy has never been more critical to retaining key workers and ensuring talent remains as confident as possible in their employment.”


Other takeaways:


Republicans have far greater confidence in their employment situation than either Democrats or Independents.

Segmenting responses by political affiliation, the WCI measured 122.1 among respondents who affiliated with the Republican party, 22 points above that of Democrats and nearly 40 points higher than Independents. Republican-affiliated respondents rated almost every index significantly higher than Democrats or Independents, with the job security index consistent across all three political affiliations.


Increase in worker confidence most keenly felt by minorities.


The second quarter of 2020 saw a precipitous decline in confidence among Black respondents. However, when segmenting responses by race, changes in job security, promotion and trust all improved the most among the Black Americans in Q3, while confidence overall remains lower than that of White Americans. Hispanics have the highest levels of belief in a promotion, raise and trust, despite a much higher concern about job loss than any other racial segment.


Employees’ trust in company leadership remains high.


Throughout the volatility of the coronavirus pandemic, the trust in company leadership index has remained relatively stable, with many workers believing their company leadership doing all they can to keep their businesses operational. As the only index to experience a year-over-year increase in Q3 2020 (0.6 points compared to Q3 2019), trust improved 2.7 points over last quarter.


HRO Today Yoh Workers Confidence Index


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