The Majority of U.S. Workers are Optimistic About Their Employer's Future

By Sean Leslie

It seems there's not much that can keep the American worker down. Despite a sluggish economy and stagnant wages, the majority of seemingly ever-confident American employees are optimistic about the future of their employer.

Global economic uncertainty brought on by—among other things— the volatile race for the U.S. Presidency might be contributing to America's slow recovery from the Great Recession, lackluster economic growth and stagnant wages for most American workers. But even though the economy isn't growing as rapidly as we'd like, according to 425,219 U.S. workers polled by PayScale between June 15, 2014 and June 15, 2016, Americans are largely optimistic about the future of their employers. (A 2015 Pew Research Center report showed Americans are generally more optimistic overall than citizens of most other developed nations … so there may not be much that can wipe that smile off our face.)

Winston Churchill
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Overall, almost 60 percent of U.S. workers reported optimism regarding their employer's future. Among those, the Real Estate, and Rental and Leasing industry reported the highest percentage (38 percent) of workers who are strongly optimistic that their employer has a bright future. Based on the real estate market's recent performance— U.S. home prices are up roughly 5.4 percent year-over-year, just 2.9 percent off the June 2006 peak—they have reason to be hopeful about the continued growth of their industry.

Employees in the Construction industry came in third on our list of most optimistic industries, reporting 35 percent of workers who are strongly optimistic that their employer has a bright future. Unemployment is dropping, consumer confidence remains relatively strong, and interest rates are staying low. On top of that, the largest generation in history, Millennials, entering their peak home-buying years, so new-home construction is poised to see significant growth for the foreseeable future.

Maya Angelou
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When it comes to specific job titles, of all the workers PayScale surveyed, Flight Attendants seem to be those who believe the most that their prospects are … looking up. (Yes, #dadjoke!) Fifty-nine percent of Flight Attendants reported optimism regarding their employer's future. But even though nearly four-billion people are expected to travel by air this year, an all-time record, Brexit's impact on the economy, and fears of the mosquito-carried virus Zika and global terrorism could bring the airline industry ... back down to earth. (#nailedit)

More than 58 percent of Dentists reported strong optimism regarding their employer's future, landing them second on our list of most optimistic job titles. Hey, almost all of us have teeth—sorry, Grandma—and on top of that, the BLS projects employment in the field of dentistry to grow nearly 16 percent by 2022. If you're a dentist, that's certainly worth ... smiling about. (I'm on fire!).

Harry Truman
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Three Western states came in atop our ranking for most optimistic workers based on geography: Utah topped the list, followed closely by its neighbors Idaho and Nevada. Maybe there's something in the western air, but almost 37 percent of Utah's workers reported feeling strongly optimistic about their employer's future, with Idaho and Nevada's workers reporting 36.6 percent and just shy of 36 percent, respectively. Home to five national parks—Canyonlands, Arches, Zion, Bryce Canyon and Capitol Reef—Travel and Tourism is a large and growing part of Utah's economy, as are Sporting Goods Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense, and IT. Considering each of these industries is lucrative and growing, it makes sense that the ever-industrious workers in the Beehive State would be buzzing about their future prospects. (Still got it!)

Despite the fact that the majority of U.S workers feel positively about the future of their employer, not every industry and job title can claim the level of optimism expressed by those described above. Coming soon: which industries, job titles and states have the most pessimistic workers?