A nationwide survey by Rutgers University has found most Americans who had lost a job when they were first surveyed two years ago still are struggling.
The survey, by the university’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, was conducted in August, and found 33 percent of Americans who lost a job before the 2009 survey currently are unemployed, while 8 percent are working part time while seeking full-time jobs. Another 43 percent are employed, while 17 percent have dropped out of the labor force.
Among those older than 50, one-quarter now have a full-time job.
Of the unemployed, three-quarters have been out of work for more than six months, and half have been unemployed for more than two years.
Of those who are employed, 57 percent said their new jobs will be permanent, with a similar percentage saying they took the job to get by while they look for something better. Forty-five percent of the employed respondents said they are working in an area extremely different from where they had been working, according to the survey. By a two-to-one margin, re-employed workers said their new job was a step down, rather than a step up.
The percentage of respondents who said the U.S. economy is experiencing fundamental and lasting changes has grown from 52 percent two years ago to 71 percent this year.
Retirement plans have changed for 70 percent of respondents, although that group was evenly divided among those who said they planned to retire earlier and later than they originally planned.
“No group has suffered more from the Great Recession than the very long-term unemployed,” said Carl Van Horn, Heldrich Center director and co-author of the study.
Survey respondents support government programs to lower unemployment, with 78 percent supporting longer training programs to help workers switch careers; 70 percent backing business tax credits for hiring workers; 69 percent favoring direct job creation programs for the unemployed; 61 percent supporting further extension of unemployment insurance; and 60 percent supporting requiring UI recipients to enter training to receive benefits.
For the report, the Heldrich Center surveyed a national sample of 1,202 unemployed workers in August 2009, and re-contacted 675 in August 2011. The sampling error for the survey was plus or minus 4 percentage points.