State of Workers Report

April 2023

Report summary

Workers have dealt with more than a year of high inflation and a barrage of negative headlines about an impending recession. And three years into the pandemic, employers are still struggling to strike a balance between in-office and remote work. Our latest report looks at how the economy and a shifting workforce have impacted Americans’ work preferences, and how attitudes have changed over the past 12 months, when we last wrote about the shift to working under the “new normal.” Our research covers where people are working, how satisfied they are with their job and whether employers face a retention threat.

Key Takeaways

  • Remote work has lost some of its luster: Predictions that the future of work would be entirely remote never came to fruition. Not only has the share of U.S. adults working remotely dipped compared with last year, but pluralities still prefer to work in person. And remote employees say completing work tasks at home is more difficult.
  • It’s more of an employer’s market now: Last year, employees enjoyed a high degree of bargaining power they had not had in decades, demanding workplace flexibility and other perks. But the tables have turned, if only slightly: Workers are now less picky about what they need from employers.
  • Despite the headlines, job losses are low: Even though coverage of layoffs is at a fever pitch, the share of workers being laid off in the broader economy remains low, and voluntary separations are historically high. That said, employees are putting in longer hours, and many are feeling tired after work.


This report draws from surveys fielded Jan. 21-29, 2023, among 6,610 U.S. adults, including 3,497 employed adults, and Jan. 21-25, 2022, among 6,610 U.S. adults, including 3,535 employed adults.

All survey interviews were conducted online, and the data was weighted based on age, gender, race, educational attainment, region, gender by age and race by educational attainment. Both surveys have unweighted margins of error of +/-1percentage point.

Part of the analysis was done using a cluster analysis technique, which is a specific, semiautomated way of segmenting our respondents. Cluster analysis requires some human decisions and input, including which features to include in the analysis and the method of choice. “Features” refers to the existing variables we selected for the cluster analysis.

Morning Consult data scientists used partitioning around medoids (PAM), also known as k-medoids, to develop the clusters in this report. This cluster analysis method is robust, with the ability to include outliers and allow users to input exclusively quantitative or mixed features.

The PAM analysis develops clusters by placing respondents into relatively homogenous groups based on distances between responses to the selected features. For this report, we selected features for the cluster analysis with the intent to sort respondents based on their experiences with and perspectives on work, as well as how they value work in their lives. Throughout this report, the results of a five-cluster PAM model with mixed feature inputs are used for analysis.

About the authors

A headshot photograph of Joanna Piacenza
Joanna Piacenza
Head of Industry Analysis

Joanna Piacenza leads Industry Analysis at Morning Consult. Prior to joining Morning Consult, she was an editor at the Public Religion Research Institute, conducting research at the intersection of religion, culture and public policy. Joanna graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications and holds a master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].

A headshot photograph of Amy He
Amy He
Head of Industry Analysis

Amy He leads Industry Analysis at Morning Consult. Prior to joining Morning Consult, Amy served as the executive editor at eMarketer, and was a China reporter for many years. She graduated from New York University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and East Asian studies. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].