Consumer Mood Darkens on Employment and Job Prospects


A Fed survey of consumer expectations shows a darkening mood about jobs.

Job Transitions

This chart shows the changes in employment status of respondents who were  employed four months ago. The Fed survey asks individuals currently employed (excluding self-employment) whether they are working in the same job as when they submitted their last survey. 

If in the past four months they have answered that they now work for a different employer, they are classified as “With a new employer”, and otherwise they are “With the same employer”. 

Workers currently self-employed who were also self-employed four months ago are classified as “With the same employer”, and otherwise as “With a new employer.” 

Number of Job Offers

Number of Job Offers 2020-07

13.5% of individuals said they received at least one job offer in the last four months. That is down from 21.0% in July 2019. 

The average expected likelihood of receiving a job offer in the next four months dropped to 18.5% in July from 24.1% a year earlier.

Job Finding Expectations

Mean Job Finding Expectations 2020-07

The chart shows consumer expectations of finding a job in next three months if lose their job today.

Pre-Covid expectations were near 60%. They are now about 50%.

About the Survey

The Survey of Consumer Expectations is a nationally representative, Internet-based survey of a rotating panel of approximately 1,300 household heads. Respondents participate in the panel for up to twelve months, with a roughly equal number rotating in and out of the panel each month. Unlike comparable surveys based on repeated cross-sections with a different set of respondents in each wave, our panel enables us to observe the changes in expectations and behavior of the same individuals over time.

Related Articles

  1. The Recovery is Led by Part-Time, Not Full-Time Employment
  2. Women Lost More Jobs But Have Gained Them Back Faster
  3. Unemployment Claim Progress Slows to a Crawl

Given points 1-3 the darkening mood is not surprising. The Fed is far more optimistic. 

I asked Fed's GDP and Unemployment Projections: Who Believes Them?

The Fed has great faith in surveys and expectations except when they contradict Fed groupthink.

This applies even to its own surveys.


Comments (19)
No. 1-8

42 days till election. Airlines begging for more bailout money, cruise lines selling ships and canceling some 2021 sailings. Fortune 100 firms starting big layoffs in October and through end of year. Reality setting in for viable vaccine, too many people to inoculate. I am writing off 2021 at this point.

23 days till Boris Brexit Ultimatum.


CDC posts guidelines saying Covid-19 is airborne but Trump administration removes it. Who will you trust ? At least 11000 cases of Covid-19 are from people who contracted it after flying on a passenger airplane.


Has the mood ever darkened for the multitude of employees at the Federal Reserve? Just curious...


Where did you find the 11k stat?


It will take years to recover from this.

In my neighborhood, a couple of homes have grass 2' tall and never any cars in the driveway. I guess they moved out. Not sure if maybe closing is taking a long time or they abandoned. I never saw this in years past.


For young people, it's back to the parents homes.

15 Sep 2020
Working from (your parents') home
Erica Pandey, author of @work


NPR Poll: Financial Pain From Coronavirus Pandemic 'Much, Much Worse' Than Expected
September 9, 20205:00 AM ET

In America's four largest cities, at least half of people say they have experienced the loss of a job or a reduction in wages or work hours in their household since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. That's the finding of a new poll published Wednesday by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Many of these problems are concentrated among Black and Latino households in the four cities, according to the poll, which gathered responses from July 1 through Aug 3.

Houston had an especially high proportion of Latino households (77%) and Black households (81%) reporting serious financial problems. But the other three cities in our survey have had high rates as well: 73% of Latinos in New York City tell us their household experienced serious financial problems since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, along with 71% of Latinos in Los Angeles and 63% in Chicago.


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