A plurality of Americans consider lack of jobs and the overall issue of unemployment the biggest problem facing the country, the latest Gallup poll finds.
Twenty-three percent of Americans rate lack of jobs and unemployment as the country's biggest problem, an increase from 16 percent in January. The economy is considered the second most-important issue with 20 percent of Americans rating it No. 2.
This represent a shift. Since the government shutdown in October, a plurality of Americans had rated dissatisfaction with government and politicians as the biggest problem, Gallup found. Before that, either jobs or the economy had been rated as the most important problem going back to February 2008. Now jobs and the economy have regained the top spots.
A Gallup spokeswoman said, "Fears about unemployment and the economy may be linked to weaker-than-hoped-for jobs reports and flat job growth in the past few months. ... Now that the shutdown is over and the government has successfully passed a budget and avoided another debt ceiling shutdown, Americans appear to have shifted their focus away from the government and back to the still relatively weak job market."
The national unemployment rate has dropped below 7 percent but this tends to understate the problem. Many who have been jobless for a long time have stopped looking for work and are not counted in this statistic. Many others are underemployed.