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Americans optimistic about job prospects, and many would keep working from home — CBS News poll

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As the nation emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, CBS News polled Americans on their jobs now and in the future, ahead of the CBSN special “Employment in America,” airing at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET on Monday night and 2 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

CBS News finds Americans mostly optimistic about jobs in their area and their own ability to find a new job, if they want to. Many Americans would also consider changing jobs, or moving, if the opportunity arises. And remote working would be here to stay for awhile, if many had their preference, even as the pandemic eases.

Americans are especially optimistic that businesses in their area can continue to reopen safely (eight in 10 think so.) More than two-thirds are optimistic about their own personal finances, generally. 

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Even though many are not considering making changes to their jobs, careers, or locations in the next year, plenty are still thinking about it if they have the opportunity. 

Four in 10 of those working are considering changing jobs in the next year if they get the chance, and a third would change careers if the possibility arises. 

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A quarter of Americans would move to another town or even another state or area, if the opportunity comes up. (This rises to a third of young people under 30, but very few of those over 65 would.) Mostly, that would be for financial reasons, but the pandemic has spurred some of that desire, too. There are personal reasons too: almost half who’d consider moving would do it, among other reasons, to be closer to family and friends — although four in 10 who’d move say they’d also do it to be further from family and friends.

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Returning to the office?

Many Americans worked remotely during the pandemic, and that may have brought more lasting changes to how Americans want to work: many would like to keep the new status quo. More of those currently working would prefer to either do a hybrid mix of some days at work and some at home, or work remotely all the time, for the next year. This is also generally the view among those working remotely right now. Those working from home now are not eager to go back full time, at least not right away. 

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But that said, three-quarters of Americans overall would feel comfortable going to a workplace outside the home. This is true for fully vaccinated people, and for those who won’t get the shot.

The majority have confidence in their ability to pay for day-to-day needs like food, and housing, but not everyone is: a third express some concern. There’s not quite as much confidence about going beyond that, like saving and buying extras and paying off debts. And all this, perhaps expectedly, depends on income. Those with higher incomes express far more confidence about all that than those with lower household incomes. 

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Among people with children at home, just over half confident about paying for child care and nearly half are concerned. And people with lower incomes are more likely to say their financial situation has gotten worse during the pandemic year.


This CBS News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 2,037 U.S. adult residents interviewed between June 8-10, 2021. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on  the U.S. Census American Community Survey, and the U.S. Census Current Population Survey, as well as 2020 Presidential vote. The margin of error is ±2.6 points.

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