With Labor Day weekend upon us, a little good news: For the first time in more than a decade, the majority of U.S. workers are satisfied with their jobs.

According to new data from the Conference Board, the research group, job satisfaction climbed for the sixth year in a row, reaching 50.8 percent, up from 49.6 percent last year and above the 50 percent threshold for the first time since 2005.

But while that trend may be encouraging, it’s still far below the 61.1 percent of American workers who liked their jobs in 1987 and the 58.6 percent who said they did in 1995. And the lower numbers may be permanent – at least for the foreseeable future – thanks to fundamental changes in the U.S. workforce such as the decline in labor unions, the increase in outsourcing and income inequality, and the erosion of the social contract between workers and companies for long-term employment.

“Is it going to go back to the 1987 or 1995 levels? We speculate that it won’t,” said Gad Levanon, chief economist for the Conference Board in North America. “We do think we’ll see more improvement because we think the labor market is going to be tighter than usual as the Baby Boomers continue to retire in large numbers. But the U.S. labor market has changed in the past decades in a way that reduced job quality and job satisfaction.”

Levanon said the uptick in satisfaction is the result of an improved labor market, one that has been in recovery mode for years.

“There are a bunch of people who had to settle for jobs they didn’t want,” he said. “In recent years they have been able to move into jobs they like better. We think that’s the main reason for the improvement.”

Report co-author Michelle Kan noted that following decades of layoffs, reduced pension plans, diminished loyalty and less investment in worker training, “the employee and employer social contract … is not what it used to be,” she said.