Despite the current deep recession, Americans still on the job appear to be a contented lot. A recent nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project finds that nine-in-ten employed adults are either “completely satisfied” (30%) or “mostly satisfied” (60%) with their jobs. Older working adults are the most content: 54% say they are completely satisfied with their jobs. In June 2006, before the onset of the current recession, a virtually identical share of all workers (89%) reported they were satisfied with their job. In fact, overall job satisfaction levels appear to have little relationship to the business cycle; they have been stable since at least 1989, when the Gallup Organization first asked this question and found that 89% of all workers were satisfied with their jobs. It could be that, in bad economic times, the negative impact on workers (in terms of salary freezes, involuntary furloughs and the like) are balanced by a greater appreciation that workers feel simply to still have a job. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.