17 Percent of Workers Expect to Be Laid Off This Year, Fed Survey Finds

WASHINGTON (Los Angeles Times/MCT) -

About 17 percent of workers expect to be laid off in the coming year, according to results of a newly launched consumer survey from the Federal Reserve.

The figure for December was down from about 18 percent the previous month but up from about 15 percent in June, according to the initial results of the Survey of Consumer Expectations from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

About 22 percent of consumers expect to voluntarily switch jobs in the year ahead, down slightly from November but up from about 19 percent in June, the survey reported. Both figures have been holding steady in recent months.

Six months ago, the Fed began collecting data on consumer attitudes about the labor market, inflation and household finances. The results were released for the first time Monday, along with interactive charts.

The survey has been in the works for about five years, and will add to monthly private data on consumer confidence. The information, to be released the first Monday of each month, will be used to help Fed officials set monetary policy and assist staff in researching connections between expectations and behavior.

Fed officials said the survey will track rolling groups of heads of households over 12-month periods, to look at their views and behaviors.

The initial survey results from about 1,200 people showed expectations on inflation, income growth and spending holding steady in the past six months.

The consumers surveyed anticipated that annual inflation would be 3.1 percent, higher than the current pace, and that home prices would outstrip that, at 3.9 percent.

Income growth was expected to lag at about 2 percent for the coming year, while the consumers anticipated their spending would grow by about 5 percent.