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Americans Increasingly Unhappy at Work

Americans are increasingly unhappy at work, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI), which measures employee work life in six categories: life evaluation, emotional health , work environments, physical health, healthy behaviors and basic access.

The Work Environment Index score has dropped from 50.9 in 2008 to 49.1 in 2009 to 48.2 in 2010, revealing increasing discontent with the U.S. work environment, including job satisfaction, trust and employee /supervisor relations.

Consistent with a challenging work environment, Americans’ access to basic necessities, including medical care, remains down with the Basic Access Index score dropping to 82.3 in 2010, from 83.6 in 2008.

“The WBI data can be viewed as an indicator of the actual state of the nation over the past three years, mirroring unemployment rates and the added pressure the employed are feeling,” said John Harris, chief officer of well-being at Healthways.

“Seeing the declining satisfaction in work environment is a reminder that business leaders and government must empower themselves with the tools, programs and resources necessary to increase well-being in the workplace. Making strides in this area is critical to our ability to increase productivity, lower health care costs and achieve sustained economic growth, while raising the well-being standard in our nation.”

The survey also found that Americans are taking better care of themselves by smoking less and exercising more. The number of sick days taken remains essentially unchanged. Despite more dissatisfaction with their jobs, worker emotional wellness is back up after declining in the recession.

By state, South Dakota ranked No.1  in work environment well-being, with Nebraska, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota  joining it to make up the top five work environment states. Delaware, Mississippi, Louisiana, Michigan and Nevada reported the worst work environments this year.