Poll: “America’s blue collar workers may be one of the most optimistic groups in the country today.”

Blue collar workers in the U.S. are upbeat and confident, reports a new Harris Poll commissioned by Express Employment Professionals.

America’s blue collar workers may be one of the most optimistic groups in the country today. According to a new study conducted by The Harris Poll and commissioned by Express Employment Professionals, 85 percent of America’s blue collar workers see their lives heading “in the right direction.” 

Sixty-nine (69) percent also say their local communities are heading in the right direction, and 51 percent say the same about the country as whole. That is 12 percentage points higher than among all Americans who say the country is heading in the right direction (39 percent), according to the July edition of the Harvard-Harris Poll polling average

This summer has seen a raft of positive economic news, as we reported yesterday. (Read to the bottom of this post for some cautionary reports from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.) Solid GDP growth and soaring consumer confidence underpin the Harris Poll findings.

The CEO of the firm sponsoring the survey had this to say:

“There’s been a great deal of chatter about the future and frustrations of America’s blue collar workers,” said Express CEO Bill Stoller. “Our survey reveals that blue collar workers are upbeat, optimistic and proud of the work they do. While the news is often full of stories about economic anxieties, this survey shows workers who are exceptionally optimistic. While they certainly express concerns, it’s clear that the vast majority feel like things will work out for themselves and their families.”

Here’s who they asked.

The national survey of 1,049 blue collar workers was conducted online by The Harris Poll between July 9 and 23, 2018…

The survey included workers who are employed full-time, part-time or self-employed in a job that requires manual labor in one of the following industries: construction, manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, automotive services, maintenance, agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting or utilities.

Reflecting the national workforce, the majority of those surveyed were not labor union members.

Seventy-three (73) percent somewhat or strongly agree that “unions help the working man and woman,” but only 13 percent are members of a labor union.

The poll also shows general confidence in the future, although – as is common – they are less confident about the nation than about themselves and their community.

In general, blue collar workers are optimistic about their personal situation and about the future.

  • 85 percent say their lives are heading in the right direction
  • 69 percent say their local communities are heading in the right direction
  • 58 percent say their states are heading in the right direction
  • 51 percent say the country is heading in the right direction

Tempering somewhat the rosy outlook is the September Economic and Revenue Forecast from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis. (Getting a jump on the calendar.)

While economic growth continues and nearly all leading indicators flash green, the shape of the business cycle may be coming into focus. Specifically, economists are becoming more comfortable talking about plausible recession scenarios given the expected path of federal policy. To be clear, the flow of economic data remains healthy, and the risks to the near-term outlook are balanced, if not tilted toward the upside.

However, potential danger lurks around the corner with many forecasters pointing at the confluence of events beginning in 2020. At this time, federal fiscal policy will be a drag on economic growth and monetary policy is expected to have transitioned from accommodative, to neutral, and potentially even restrictive. Should this fully come to pass, a recession is likely to follow. However, this outcome is not a foregone conclusion. Rather, for really the first time this cycle, it is a reasonable, and clear scenario for how this expansion ends. Even so, between now and then, economic growth is expected to be at or above potential.

Not bad, but the yellow light is flashing.