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36% Expect More Unemployment One Year From Today, 21% Expect Less

As 2011 rolls along, Americans have become far more pessimistic about the employment outlook.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of American Adults shows that 36% believe the unemployment rate will be higher one year from now. Only 21% expect unemployment to be lower in a year and another 37% expect the unemployment rate to be about the same as it is now. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

When 2011 began, people tended to believe the unemployment rate would be lower in a year. Thirty-six percent (36%) said unemployment would be higher and just 22% lower. That’s essentially a mirror image of the more pessimistic assessment found today. From March through June, the number who currently believe the unemployment rate will increase is at the highest level recorded in recent years.

Data from the Rasmussen Employment Index shows that hiring expectations peaked last November and hit bottom in August. The numbers are a bit less pessimistic for September.

Only 12% say the job market is better today than it was a year ago, the lowest level of optimism measured since August 2009.  Forty-four percent (44%) say the job market is worse than it was a year ago and 41% say it is about the same.

An overwhelming majority of adults (77%) still know someone who is out of work and looking for a job, a finding that has varied little in recent years.

Forty-one percent (41%) know someone who, out of frustration with the job market, has given up looking for an employment. Half of Americans (50%) still don’t know anyone in this situation.

(Want a free daily e-mail update? If it's in the news, it's in our polls).  Rasmussen Reports updates are also available on Twitter or Facebook.

The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on October 1-2, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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