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U.S. workplace happiness levels off, survey says

Results from the region that includes Florida suggests a satisfaction upswing.

Associated Press
Published March 1, 2005

NEW YORK - After a steep drop during the late 1990s, job satisfaction has leveled off among U.S. workers, a new survey says.

Half of the workers surveyed in July 2004 by the Conference Board, a New York-based business research group, said they were happy with their jobs, up from 48.9 percent in 2003. Of those, about 14 percent said they were "very satisfied."

The trend has changed little since 2000, when 50.7 percent of workers surveyed said they were satisfied with their job. Satisfaction fell sharply during the 1990s, and the Conference Board's 1995 survey found that 58.6 percent of workers were satisfied with their jobs that year.

Data was not broken down by state. But figures for the South Atlantic region, which includes Florida, suggest job satisfaction may be on the upswing.

In 2004, 51 percent of workers in the South Atlantic region were satisfied with their employment, up from 47.1 percent the prior year and 49.7 percent in 2000. As with the national data, job satisfaction in the South Atlantic region fell sharply during the late 1990s, dropping from 58.1 percent in 1995.

The long-term drop in job satisfaction has been driven by rapid changes in technology, employers' push for productivity and shifting expectations among workers, said Lynn Franco, director of the group's Consumer Research Center.

The survey, conducted for the Conference Board by market research firm TNS, is based on a representative sample of 5,000 households surveyed in July.

Workers who were surveyed voiced substantial discontent with bonus plans, promotion policies, health plans and pension benefits. Only about one in three said they are satisfied with their pay.

The workers most satisfied with their jobs were those earning $50,000 or more (55.1 percent), and workers at least 65 years old (58 percent), the survey found.

[Last modified March 1, 2005, 01:10:14]

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