By Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (Xinhua) -- For the first time since 2001, a majority of Americans, or 54 percent, say now is a good time to find a quality job, Gallup found in a poll Thursday.
The number is up slightly from 50 percent last month, which was then a new high, according to the Feb. 1-5 poll.
This is largely because rank-and-file Republicans' outlooks have brightened considerably since President Donald Trump won the election, while Democrats' expectations have not completely deteriorated, Gallup said.
This could either be because Democrats can't fully dismiss recent positive monthly job figures or because they still credit the administration of former President Barack Obama' s policies for the current health of the job market, Gallup found.
The poll comes as the U.S. economy has gained ground in recent years, although there are still millions of unemployed Americans nationwide, many of them in rural areas. In many major cities, however, such as Washington D.C., there are plentiful quality jobs.
Americans' optimism is affected by the political lens through which they view the country's economic health.
Before last month, the highest optimism Gallup had recorded about the nation's job climate was 48 percent in January 2007. Optimism soon plunged, falling to 33 percent by January 2008 and to a record-low 8 percent by November 2009 as the country grappled with the global economic crisis. That same year, the unemployment rate in the U.S. hit a 26-year high of 10.2 percent in October, Gallup found.
At the same time, Gallup has recorded a boost in economic confidence, largely attributable to improved views among Republicans since U.S. President Donald Trump was elected.
Similarly, after November's election, Republicans became markedly more likely to say that it is a good time to find a quality job, and this figure has increased each month since the election, including a 20-percentage-point surge in February.
Currently, 64 percent of Republicans say it is a good time to find a job, more than twice as high as the 24 percent who held this view before the election, Gallup found.
Democrats, however, became much less likely to express optimism for the U.S. job market in February, sliding 10 points to 45 percent since President Barack Obama left office last month.