New data show only 30% of American workers engaged in their jobs

The numbers are pretty discouraging.

It's still a few weeks before Gallup's latest "State of the American Workplace" report, but the research firm is already previewing some of the data. The report, which draws on interviews with more than 150,000 U.S. workers in 2012, examines employees' engagement with their jobs.

Here's one of the top-line findings:

The numbers have changed little over the past several years, but at least the percent of workers who are "actively disengaged" has been dropping ever so slightly—from 20 percent in 2006 to 18 percent in 2012.

Still, the figure that should really make us stop? Less than a third of American workers are engaged in their jobs.

If the widespread emotional detachment isn't enough to worry leaders, then perhaps it's also worth noting that Gallup has found that an organization's productivity and profitability are directly tied to employee engagement. So when only 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is motivated, that's an economic problem as well as a morale problem.

See also: How to be a bad boss

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Lillian Cunningham is the editor and feature writer for The Washington Post's 'On Leadership' section.
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Lillian Cunningham · April 29, 2013