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ASQC/GALLUP FINDS AMERICAN CONSUMERS SUPPORT QUALITY STRATEGIES

 ASQC/GALLUP FINDS AMERICAN CONSUMERS SUPPORT QUALITY STRATEGIES
 MILWAUKEE, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Americans believe foreign competition is a major reason for recent job cutbacks that have occurred in the past year according to a survey conducted by The Gallup Organization for the American Society for Quality Control (ASQC). Seven in ten adults (70 percent) believe loss of jobs due to foreign competition is a major reason for cutbacks.
 ASQC, a professional, not-for-profit association, is the worldwide leader in the development, promotion and application of quality-related information and technology for the private sector, government and academia. The Society, headquartered in Milwaukee, serves nearly 90,000 individual and 715 corporate members in the United States and 63 other countries.
 Consumers were also asked opinions of other possible reasons for the recent job cutbacks. A majority (55 percent) believes a weak economy due to lack of consumer demand is a major reason for job cutbacks. In contrast, only a third (32 percent) thinks that a major reason is the elimination of the need for some jobs and the increase in worker efficiency resulting from quality improvement programs.
 A majority of Americans agree that businesses in the United States should continue to pursue quality improvements even it it means that, in the short term, some people might lose their job.
 "We think this says that people are probably taking a long-term view and realizing that if you don't have a quality strategy in place, you're guaranteed to lose jobs now and in the future," said ASCQ Executive Director Paul E. Borawski. "Qualtiy does not weaken, it strengthens the economy by strengthening the individual organizations that embrace it wholeheartedly. Quality reduces cost and increases efficiency and productivity, making a company more competitive."
 When asked if quality improvement programs are good or bad for the economy, 60 percent believe the time and effort businesses put into quality improvement programs is good for the economy. Few (9 percent) see these efforts as bad for the economy and another one in four (24 percent) does not feel the efforts made to improve quality make any difference to the economy.
 The survey also revealed that employed adults are more likely than those adults outside the labor force to believe quality improvement programs are good for the economy. Further, among the employed those in business or professional positions are more likely to see quality improvement as contributing to a good economy.
 "The survey reveals disparities between the rich and the poor and the employed and unemployed which brings into focus one of the central problems of our time -- the disintegration of mainstream America," said Borawski. "In order to compete, we've got to improve the quality of American products. We need a nationwide commitment."
 People are almost twice as likely to say that business efforts to improve quality of products and services increase employment as they are to say that these efforts decrease employment. But, the opinion that quality improvment efforts increase employment is not a majority opinion -- 43 percent believe quality improvement efforts increase employment. Somewhat more than one adult in five (23 percent) feels quality improvement efforts decrease employment, and as many (23 percent) say improving quality has no effect on employment.
 Adults 35 years of age or older are somewhat more likely to be pessimistic about the job outlook with quality improvement; about one in four (25 percent) believes the number of jobs will decline compared to 19 percent among those under age 35.
 When asked if reductions in the work force have affected the quality of the products or services, nearly nine out of ten Americans believe quality has been hurt to some extent.
 Among those people who say that workforce reductions have hurt the quality of products and services, health care and education are seen as more vulnerable than autos, computers, appliances, and financial services.
 These survey results are based on interviews conducted in December 1991 with 1,013 men and women, 18 years of age or older. The questions in the foregoing news release may be obtained by calling John Ryan or Kimberly Jacobson, 800-248-1946.
 For samples of this size, the sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
 -0- 1/30/92
 /CONTACT: Kimberly Jacobson or Dick Sandretti of ASCQ, 414-272-8575/ CO: American Society for Quality Control ST: Wisconsin IN: SU:


KK -- CL001 -- 5072 01/30/92 08:29 EST
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Date:Jan 30, 1992
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