Of those who sustained the worst blows from the Great Recession, few have healed, according to a Rutgers University study released Monday.Federal figures indicate a recovery: Last year, about 38 percent of the nation’s jobless had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more, which this year dropped to 28 percent.
But the Rutgers study revealed that long-term jobless workers have made long and fruitless job searches, salary concessions in newly accepted positions and serious lifestyle adjustments.
The study was part of a series of research examining the views of Americans about work, the economy and government. It was a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 Americans.
It found more than half of long-term unemployed — six months or more — reported having much less income and savings than five years ago, while only 23 percent of employed workers said they had suffered similar economic consequences.
This led to discrepancies in attitude, as 61 percent of the long-term unemployed said they did not expect their finances to improve in the next five years. Employed workers were 11 percentage points more optimistic.
One in five workers reported being laid off from a job in the past five years. Nearly four in 10 of these laid-off workers searched for a job for more than seven months before finding another one.
Considering how long it took these people to find work, it’s no wonder nearly half of them say their new job was a step down for them compared with what they were doing five years ago.
“Devastated” is how one-third of long-term unemployed workers described their financial situation’s changes. Just 7 percent of respondents said they had a lot more purchasing power than five years ago.
Four in 10 of the surveyed jobless even had to sell possessions to make ends meet.
As for how long it will take for the Great Recession’s wounds to be patched up, 39 percent of employed Americans and 47 percent of the long-term unemployed predict they’ll make a financial recovery within three to 10 years.
A couple more noteworthy findings:
- A little more than half of those who were out of work in the past five years received unemployment benefits at some point, but the benefits expired before a new job was found for almost half of those who received it.
- The vast majority reported that they received no other form of government assistance.
- Nearly half of Americans believe that the federal government should take actions that will reduce unemployment rather than waiting until the private-sector economy improves.
- A majority supported providing tax credits to businesses that hire new workers.
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