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U.S. consumers started out the year with the most positive outlook on the economy since July 2023, according to CivicScience data published in early January. This data illustrates a nation with increased confidence in personal finances, making major purchases, and the likelihood of finding a new job.

Whether fueled by confidence in the economy or new personal or career goals set at the start of the year, data collected this week show the number of people searching for a new job has increased slightly (5%) since September 2023. Looking ahead 12 months, 40% of U.S. adults say it’s at least ‘somewhat’ likely they will be job hunting within a year, up from 37% in September.

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What do we know about these job seekers? Most people looking for a new job prefer to use the online site Indeed to browse the latest job postings (56%). LinkedIn (33%) and Google for Jobs (16%) are second and third preference for those on the job hunt.

The pool of job searchers holds a significant percentage of those who are unhappy in their current job. These folks are significantly more likely to be the ones looking for a new gig (59% compared to 18%). Data also show that current job searchers are more likely to be between the ages of 25 and 34. Forty-two percent of the young Millennial workforce is currently hunting for a new position.

The two youngest age groups (Gen Z and Millennials) also have the highest rate of being unhappy in their current jobs, which leads to questions about correlations between job satisfaction and looking for new employment.

Job Happiness and Work Environment

More than 3-in-4 U.S. workers say they are happy with their current job, and 70% of U.S. adults are either neutral or satisfied with their current household income. An analysis of income satisfaction among job searchers reveals the reason for being unhappy in a job isn’t always related to compensation. Previous CivicScience reports indicate income is in fact the primary motivator for changing jobs, but an important factor is also job flexibility.

Data reveal that 50% of people currently searching for a new position say their preferred work environment is full-time at home, while 32% prefer a mix of home and office. Alternately, data also show the happiest workers are those who prefer to work full-time in an office.

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While income is most crucial when deciding which job to apply for, work environment appears to be an additional critical factor.

The bottom line: if a person is happy in their current job, they aren’t planning to get a new one any time soon. Compensation and job flexibility are the main reasons why someone would get a new job, but income satisfaction doesn’t necessarily predict whether or not someone is looking for a new job. Being satisfied in a position seems an elusive state for younger generations who appear ready to make a job change as soon as possible in the current job market.