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Poll finds most optimism about quality jobs since before recession

Poll: Americans feel better about the labor market, with 39% saying this was a good time to find a quality job

In another positive sign for the labor market, Americans this month showed the most optimism about the availability of quality jobs than at any time since the start of the Great Recession, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

About 36% of respondents said this was a good time to find a quality job, the survey found. The figure was up sharply from 30% in November and was the highest since November 2007, Gallup said.

Younger adults were more optimistic than older Americans about the state of the labor market, according to the survey: About 43% of people age 18 to 49 said it was a good time to find a quality job, compared with just 29% of those 50 or older.

The 805 respondents in the poll, which was taken Dec. 8-11, also split along political lines.

Democrats and those who said they lean toward the party had a much better view of the labor market, with 47% saying this was a good time to find a quality job. The figure was 29% for Republicans and those who lean toward that party.

Gallup has been asking the quality-jobs question each month since 2001. The highest reading was 48% in January 2007, about a year before the Great Recession began.

The figure plunged to a low of 8% in late 2009. After rising into the teens over the next two years, it fell to 8% again in November 2011 as the recovery struggled to gain traction.

The rebound in sentiment is seen as a reflection of a strengthening jobs market this year as economic growth has picked up significantly since the winter.

The unemployment rate was 5.8% last month, the lowest since mid-2008.

And the economy added a robust 321,000 net new jobs in November, the best performance in nearly three years and the 10th straight month of more than 200,000 job gains.

Although more respondents said they have a more upbeat view of the labor market, 61% said it was a bad time to find a quality job. Still, the figure was an improvement over 66% in November and 73% a year ago, Gallup said.

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