Survey

Layoffs lead to bleak views of future

The New York TimesFebruary 8, 2013 

Layoffs have touched nearly every American household in some fashion over the last few years, according to new survey data to be released Thursday by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

While about 8 percent of Americans are unemployed, nearly a quarter of Americans say they were laid off at some point during the recession or afterward, according to the survey. More broadly, nearly eight in 10 say they know someone in their circle of family and friends who has lost a job.

“This to me is why the recession was so all-consuming and is likely to influence the American psyche,” said Cliff Zukin, a public policy and political science professor at Rutgers and co-author of the report. “Almost everyone, 4 out of 5, were directly or one step removed from unemployment and all that goes with it financially, socially, psychologically.”

The survey presented a bleak view of the economic future.

A majority of Americans say they think it will be at least six years before the economy is made whole again, if ever. Three in 10 said the economy would never fully recover from the Great Recession.

“Despite significant improvements in the nation’s labor market, American workers’ concerns about unemployment, the job market, job security and the future of the economy have not changed much since we conducted a similar survey in August 2010,” the report said.

Just a third of Americans surveyed in this poll, conducted from Jan. 9-16, said they thought the economy would be better next year, the same share that said so two years earlier.

Of those laid off in recent years, nearly a quarter said they still had not found a job. Re-employment rates for older workers have been particularly bad.

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