by Jim Harter and Amy Adkins

First appeared on on February 21, 2017

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Story highlights:

  • Not all workers are benefiting from expanded job opportunities
  • On the positive side, hiring has picked up
  • Workers’ optimism about employment opportunities is rising

 This is the first article in a two-part series.

The U.S. job market presents a mixed picture for workers: Some find it bleak, while others are confident and ready to look for new jobs. Your best employees may be among the latter group — and could be looking to leave.

First, the bad news: New business startups are at historical lows, and those that do get off the ground are growing at slow rates. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, 65% of all new jobs are created by small businesses, not large ones. For job creation to thrive, the U.S. needs a resurgence of small businesses.

While it’s true that the U.S. has a high number of job openings, not all workers are benefiting from expanded opportunities, according to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report. People without the skills to fill much-needed roles are finding it more difficult to secure full-time employment with decent wages.

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Jim Harter, Ph.D., is Chief Scientist, Workplace Management and Well-Being for Gallup’s workplace management practice. He is coauthor of the New York Times bestsellers 12: The Elements of Great Managing and Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements. His research is featured in First, Break All the Rules, and he contributed the foreword to Gallup’s new edition of this groundbreaking bestseller.

Amy Adkins is a writer and editor at Gallup.