The latest data on unemployment in the U.S. shows there were just under 900,000 new jobless claims made in August, the lowest it’s been since COVID-19 restrictions began in March. As companies continue to rehire and employees return to the workplace, survey responses reveal workers feel less safe on the job than in previous years.
New data from the ongoing Gallup Poll Social Series shows just 65 percent of respondents are completely satisfied with their physical safety at work. That’s the lowest score for the poll in at least the last decade, with a high of nearly 80 percent coming in 2017.
A double-digit discrepancy was observed between white and non-white workers in terms of how they perceive workplace safety. While 69 percent of white workers said they were completely satisfied with safety conditions, just 59 percent of non-white workers said the same. A similar 10 percentage point was observed between college graduates and non-graduates, while the largest difference of 18 percentage points was seen between those who make $75,000 or more a year and those who make less than $75,000.
A large factor in workers’ decrease in confidence over safety conditions relates to COVID-19 and how prepared their company is for preventing and handling outbreaks. Many who are feeling less safe at work now have the option to work remotely, and it remains to be seen how many of these jobs will stay remote full-time moving into next year.