NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Americans are showing signs of optimism about the market for quality jobs as we near 2012, according to a new poll from Gallup.

The poll found that 87% of Americans say now is a "bad time" to find a quality job, down from the 90% record high posted in November.

The bad news is we were more optimistic this time last year, when only 84% of Americans thought that December was a bad time to find quality jobs.

Survey results are based on telephone interviews with 1,019 adults nationwide conducted between Dec. 15 and Dec. 18.

Gallup says the slight uptick in optimism from November to December is in line with the government's November unemployment report and Thursday's jobless claims report, which showed that 364,000 jobless claims were made in the latest week – a decline of 4,000 from the last four week average and the lowest level for jobless claims since April 2008.

The Gallup poll also found that 12% of Americans think now is a "good time" to find a quality job, up slightly from 8% last month and essentially the same as the 13% it was this time last year.

This group of Americans may be in the minority, but they’re not exactly wrong in their assessment. Job experts say right before January is a great time to ramp up a job search, since many hiring managers are trying to fill job openings as soon as possible for fear an unfilled position might simply be cut from the budget in the next fiscal year.