BY THE NUMBERS

Personal Finances Worry Workers

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Monday, December 19, 2005

Washington area workers are confident in the state of the economy by most measures. But their personal finances appear to be getting worse, according to a new survey.

The Hudson Employment Index, conducted for employment services firm Hudson by polling firm Rasmussen Reports, is based on a monthly telephone survey of about 9,000 people who have jobs, including about 600 in the Washington area.

By the broadest measure of job market health, the Washington area economy looks strong. Hudson's index of confidence among workers is higher in the Washington area than in any of the 10 other cities for which it breaks out data, and it's higher than it was in December 2004, when the firm started breaking out local data.

Washingtonians are consistently bullish in response to most of the survey questions, such as "Are you worried about losing your job anytime soon?" (75 percent of Washington area workers say no, compared with 71 percent nationally and 74 percent in December 2004).

But one question shows a more negative outlook. Asked "Are your personal finances getting better these days, or worse?" 40 percent say worse, up from 31 percent in December 2004. And the number who answered "better" is down to 40 percent, from 44 percent in December 2004.

-- Neil Irwin


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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