Poll: After 20 Years, Most Say New Job Skills Needed

The vast majority of Americans believe the job market has changed dramatically in the past 20 years, a new CBS News poll finds, as nearly nine in ten say the job market now requires different skills than Americans needed two decades ago.

Eight-seven percent said the skills needed in approaching the job market have changed since 1990, while just ten percent said they could get by with the same skills. These views were widely held by high- and low-wage earners, college and non-college graduates and all age groups.

With unemployment at ten percent, the majority of Americans are concerned about potential job losses in their households. Twenty-nine percent overall say they are very concerned, while another 34 percent are somewhat concerned. Just one in three say they are not concerned about household job loss.

Americans are concerned about job loss in their households in all areas of the country – and particularly in the South and the West.

The poll was taken as part of CBS News' "Where America Stands" series, an in-depth look at where the country stands today on key topics and an outlook for the future decade.

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A CBS News/New York Times poll last month found that less than half of unemployed Americans expect the jobs lost in their community to return.

Eighty percent of those surveyed in this poll say the state of the economy is bad, while just 18 percent characterize it as good. Despite the negative assessment, Americans have a more positive outlook than they did last February, when 94 percent said the state of the economy was bad.

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1048 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone December 17-22, 2009. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.