Americans See Little Difference In Public And Private Sector Job Markets

June 20, 2012, 4:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 6/16/2012) As President Obama discussed the latest jobs report earlier this month, he famously claimed that "the private sector is doing fine," a statement that his critics immediately jumped on as evidence of his being "out of touch." The President was making the point that the private sector has been doing better at job creation than the public sector. But the latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds few Americans seeing a difference in the two jobs markets.

Roughly a third of the public believes jobs are decreasing in both the public and private sector; only slightly over one in five think that jobs have been increasing in either. Those perceptions are not helpful to the President when it come to evaluations of his performance on the economy: only 35% in this week’s poll approve of how he is handling the country’s most important issue.

And the President holds only a very slight edge over his opponent when it comes to understanding how the current economic situation affects most Americans: 44% of Americans say he understands the impact well, while 38% say that about Romney.

While the public doesn’t see much difference between the private and public sector in terms of employment trends, it does see a difference between them in terms of employee benefits. When it comes to such matters as retirement benefits, health insurance, vacation, hours worked, and job security, majorities say jobs in government are better than jobs in the private sector. The margin is narrower when it comes to salaries, but more Americans think government jobs are better in this area as well. 43% say government jobs are better when it comes to salaries and wages, 31% think private sector jobs are better.

Republicans overwhelmingly think the public sector has the advantage in salaries, while Democrats are less convinced.

Economist/YouGov poll archives can be found here

Photo source: Press Association