Press Release

New York Fed Introduces the New SCE Labor Market Survey

Survey Shows That Individuals’ Near-term Outlook for the Labor Market Deteriorates
August 21, 2017

NEW YORK—Today, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York for the first time released its Survey of Consumer Expectations (SCE) Labor Market Survey which provides information on individuals' experiences and expectations regarding the labor market. The results are being released as a standalone module that is a part of the broader SCE—similar to the existing modules, the SCE Housing Survey and the SCE Credit Access Survey. The SCE Labor Market Survey has been fielded every four months since March 2014 and is being introduced now because the module has enough historical data to reveal notable trends. Going forward, this survey will be released every four months, on the third Monday in August, December and April. The New York Fed also issued an accompanying blog post which provides a more information about the SCE Labor Market Survey.

Regarding consumer experiences, the July 2017 SCE Labor Market Survey shows an increase in the proportion of individuals who searched for a job, and a decline in the average full-time offer wage. Satisfaction reported by workers with promotion opportunities at their current jobs also declined. Turning to expectations, job transition expectations of those currently employed were unchanged. However, expectations regarding receiving job offers and the amount of average expected offer (conditional on receiving one) both declined. The average reservation wage—the lowest wage respondents would be willing to accept for a new job—declined to its lowest level since March 2015.

Experiences

  • Among those who were employed four months ago, 89.8% were still with the same employer, similar to the proportion of 89.6% in the March survey. The rate of transitioning to a different employer declined from 4.3% in March to 3.8% in July, the lowest level since March 2014.
  • The proportion of individuals who reported searching for a job in the past four weeks increased from 19.4% in March to 22.7%, a level above the average proportions in 2015 and 2016. While the increase was widespread across all demographic groups, it was most notable for younger households (those age 45 and less), for whom the proportion of job seekers shot up from 22.7% in March to 28.2%.
  • 17.2% of the individuals reported receiving at least one job offer in the past four months, similar to the proportion this March. While the distribution of the number of offers was little changed from the previous survey, the average full-time offer wage received in the past four months declined from $58,880 in the March survey to $49,250.
  • Satisfaction reported by respondents with nonwage benefits at their current jobs continued to edge up: 67.1% of the employed respondents reported being satisfied with the nonwage benefits at their jobs, up from 59.9% in July 2016 and 65.1% in March. This increase was mostly driven by younger, college-educated and female workers.
  • On the other hand, satisfaction reported by respondents with promotion opportunities at their current jobs deteriorated: decreasing from 48.0% in March to 44.3%. The decline was most notable for lower-education workers (those without a college degree).

Expectations

  • Expectations regarding job transitions over the next four months among those currently employed were largely unchanged, with the average expected likelihood of remaining with the current employer at 85.6%. This was slightly down from 86.1% in March.
  • The average expected likelihood of receiving at least one job offer in the next four months declined from 24.9% in November 2016, to 22.5% this March, to 22.0%. This drop was primarily driven by males, for whom the average likelihood declined from 24.1% in March to 21.4%.
  • Conditional on expecting an offer, the average expected annual salary of job offers in the next four months declined from $54,590 to $50,790. Although this was its lowest level in a year, it still remains above 2014 levels. This decline was broad-based across demographic groups.
  • The average reservation wage—the lowest wage respondents would be willing to accept for a new job—declined from $59,660 in March to $57,960, its lowest level since March 2015. This series had been trending upwards during 2015 and 2016, but has declined since November 2016. While the average reservation wage declined for each demographic group, the drop was most pronounced for older (over age 45) and higher-income (household income of greater than $60,000) respondents.
  • The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 62 declined from 52.8% in March to 52.3%, its lowest reading since the series’ start in March 2014. The average expected likelihood of working beyond age 67, however, moved up slightly from 33.1% in March to 33.5%, but is still below the 2015-2016 average of 36.2%.
Detailed results are available here.

About the SCE Labor Market Survey

The SCE Labor Market Survey, fielded as part of the SCE (Survey of Consumer Expectations), provides information on consumers' experiences and expectations regarding the labor market. Every four months, SCE panelists are asked details about their current (or most recent) job. Respondents are asked about job transitions, and about their job search effort and outcomes (number of job offers and offer wages), over the last four months. The currently employed are also asked about their level of satisfaction with wages, non-wage benefits, and their prospects for advancement at their current job. In addition, the survey elicits respondents' expectations about job transitions over the next four months. Respondents are asked about the likelihood of receiving at least one job offer over the next four months, the expected number of offers, and the expected wages for these offers. The survey also elicits the respondents' "reservation wage" and retirement expectations.

More information about the SCE survey goals, design, and content can be found here.

Contact
Betsy Bourassa
(212) 720-6885
betsy.bourassa@ny.frb.org