Study finds three in four Americans touched personally by great recession

Feb 11, 2013
Study finds three in four Americans touched personally by great recession

(Phys.org)—Five years into the devastating Great Recession and its aftershocks, millions of employed and unemployed Americans are still badly and perhaps permanently damaged financially and deeply pessimistic about near- and long-term prospects for the U.S. economy, a new nationwide survey finds. 

Six in ten Americans believe that the nation's economy has undergone a permanent change. More than half say that the economy will take at least six years to fully recover from the Great , with 29% saying the economy will never fully recover. Looking further ahead, only one in five are confident that job and will be better for the next generation of American workers.

The Great Recession's scope and impact was so widespread and corrosive that it will likely affect individuals, families, and the nation for many years to come. Among other findings of the survey conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey:

The recession has touched the vast majority of Americans personally. Some 73% either lost a job themselves, or had a member of their household, a close relative, or a friend lose a job at some point in the past four years.

  • A majority of Americans (56%) report having less money in savings than before the recession began, including 38% who say they have a lot less.
  • The vast majority thinks that college will be permanently out of the financial range for most young people.
  • More than half of those who were laid off or lost a job during the recession say they cut back on or , 40% borrowed money from family or friends, and just under one in four have sought professional help for stress or depression.
The report, entitled "Diminished Lives and : A Portrait of America in the Great-Recession Era," was written by Carl Van Horn and Cliff Zukin and Graduate Research Assistant Mark Szeltner of the John J. Heldrich Center for , a research and policy center at Rutgers University. The report is based on a nationally representative probability sample of 1,090 employed and unemployed Americans interviewed January 9 to 16, 2013 using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel conducted by GfK.

Despite more than 35 months of private-sector job growth and a decline in unemployment, less than one in three Americans gauge the economy to be better than it was last year; nearly one in four say that it has gotten worse.

Only one in three of those surveyed expect economic conditions to improve a year from now, one in three expect the economy to be in worse shape, and the rest think it will be the same. According to Professor Van Horn:

"After suffering through the worst economic disaster American workers have ever experienced, they are deeply pessimistic. Five years of economic misery have profoundly diminished Americans' confidence in the economy and their outlook for the next generation."

American workers blame high levels of unemployment principally on global competition. Seven in ten respondents (70%) attribute high levels of joblessness to competition and cheap labor from other countries; 4 in 10 (40%) believe illegal immigrants have taken jobs away from Americans. Another 4 in 10 (41%) believe that unemployment remains high because American workers lack the skills needed for jobs that might be available today.

Financial impacts

The Great Recession damaged the financial status of all but a small minority of Americans. Only 14% felt no impact at all while 35% say the recession had a major impact on their lives. Among the financial and personal sacrifices made by Americans:

  • More than half (56%) now have less in savings than they did before the Great Recession, including 38% who have a lot less in savings;
  • Nearly half drew funds from their savings to make ends meet; and
  • Three in ten borrowed money from family or friends.
Study co-author Professor Cliff Zukin said,

"While all segments of society have been hit hard by the Great Recession, millions of students coming out of high school and college have had no place in the labor market to go for half a dozen years now. There is some evidence we may be seeing the beginning of a new generation in American society—no longer Millennials but Recessionals. Whereas older workers hit by the recession might recover their past consumer habits, this period of the recession might leave a lasting imprint on young people in their buying habits and need for security as they make their way through life."

Help wanted from the president and congress

Americans are deeply skeptical about the ability of Washington-based policymakers to turn the economy around. Four in ten trust neither President Obama nor the Republicans in Congress to effectively manage the economy. Despite their misgivings, Americans want Congress and the President to take actions that would lower unemployment. The survey found broad consensus for two strategies and strong support for a third:

  • Eight in ten (81%) want the government to give tax credits to employers that hire new workers;
  • Three in four (76%) support more robust education and training programs; and
  • Six in ten (60%) say the government should fund direct job creation programs.

Explore further: What happened to savings for the future?

More information: www.heldrich.rutgers.edu/sites… ds_February_2013.pdf

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User comments : 16

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Dunbar
2 / 5 (7) Feb 11, 2013
"The Great Recession"????

Er... our economy came out of recession in 2009, we've had nearly four years of straight economic growth; only last quarter was there a slight dip in GDP (0.1%); but this does not equal a recession. A recession is two consecutive quarters of declining GDP.

Job001
1 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2013
The effect upon people is the subject of the article. Sticking to strict definition begs the question, is the definition of GDP and recession relevant? I'll contend not. The "GDP" has come to represent corrupt oligopoly extraction rather than real improved productivity.

The "people" are not gaining benefit of productivity, and we cannot pretend theft, graft, crime, job destruction, excess taxes, gambling, or monopolistic prices add to peoples wellbeing. We need a "peoples GDP" or "PGDP".

See http://seekingalp...-fallacy
FMA
3 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2013
The recession was created by the bankers' over gearing lending. The government and top management the bankers have full responsibilities of this world wide recession.
VendicarE
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 11, 2013
The U.S. economy has been out of the recession for years, but Corporations have found that they can become very profitable without American workers.

"The Great Recession" - Dunbar

So the unemployment rate has remained very high by historical American standards.

Hence people are still feeling the effects of the Bush Recession.

Fortunately, Americans were barely smart enough to avoid voting for the Republicans, who's stated economic policies would have pushed the U.S. economy not just back into recession, but a full blown economic depression.

VendicarE
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 11, 2013
@job001

Never forget that a campaign of randomly breaking windows increases the GDP.

Does it benefit the people?
ryggesogn2
2.2 / 5 (10) Feb 11, 2013
The recession was created by the bankers' over gearing lending. The government and top management the bankers have full responsibilities of this world wide recession.

Like the Great Depression, govt created the recession with all sorts of govt regulations, spending and money printing.
The Soviets admitted and proved that govts can not manage an economy. The best any govt can do is NO HARM.
Coolidge/Mellon and Regan demonstrated what the govt can do to grow an economy. Trouble is, the govt can't acquire more power if they follow this path.
It's like holding sand. The harder you squeeze, the more you loose.
Even Canada has demonstrated they understand how to grow an economy, cut govt spending (aka power).
ryggesogn2
2.5 / 5 (8) Feb 11, 2013
"If John Maynard Keynes is the darling of the progressive left, they ought to have the guts and intellectual integrity to admit they are radicals that wish to end capitalism as we use to know it. Otherwise, they might want to actually get a clue as to what they are talking about and who they are canonizing.

Progressive liberals, who use Keynes like Stalin used Marx, might want to think about the death toll under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic's economic plan."
http://www.realcl...136.html
FMA
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 11, 2013
Few weeks ago, there was a tv documentary (in WSJ or CNBC or 60 minutes, I don't remember) about the economy is undergo a "jobless recovery", something we really need to look into.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Feb 11, 2013
"Study finds three in four Americans touched personally by great recession"

Where did it touch you...show me on this doll.
*points to wallet*

VendicarE
3 / 5 (6) Feb 12, 2013
That is an odd statement given that RyggTard's own economic hero, and fellow Randite, stated before congress that the Bush Recession was in fact created by the exact opposite of what RyggTard clams.

"Like the Great Depression, govt created the recession with all sorts of govt regulations, spending and money printing." - RyggTard

In fact, Greenspan stated that presuming that the Corporations that created the near depression could be counted on to act in their own best interest was a failure of Randite Ideology.

Poor RyggTard. Like All RandTards, he is incapable of learning from his own ideological failure.
VendicarE
2 / 5 (4) Feb 12, 2013
At least 100 million dead at the hands of Capitalism.

RyggTard demands more death for profit.

"death toll under the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic's economic plan." - RyggTard
frajo
not rated yet Feb 12, 2013
While all segments of society have been hit hard by the Great Recession

Is this supposed to mean that bankers, CEOs, and the military are not segments of society?
mitchg
5 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2013
I won't argue on the anal-quant definitions of Depression or Recession, plenty of scholarly articles are debating it. The reality of computer trading/HFT and unregulated financial 'industries', globalization, BRICS etc. made it hard to restabilize the economy during the last decade. Some learned economists argue that we may have never actually recovered from the '01 dotcom bust, all the rest being just a causal string of consequences - subprime and '08 "too big to fail" included. I'm not competent enough to judge the veracity thereof, yet we surely have a short memory and still poor understanding of chaotical dynamic systems. Mitch
Thrasymachus
5 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2013
If the goal is to maximize the production of wealth, then that means keeping everybody productive that can be productive. In order to do this, they have to have customers for their product. If the private sector and the foreign sector are unwilling or unable to purchase all the product that can be produced, the government has to step in and buy the rest. And because they're the government, they have an unlimited capacity to do so.

If the goal is also a distribution of wealth for purposes other than the maximization of wealth, such as ensuring adequate access to medical care, food and education for everybody, then the government will have to dispose of whatever product it purchases carefully, and may have to purchase product that would otherwise have been purchased and used by a private or foreign agent.
kochevnik
2 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2013
The world is dumping US dollars fast. By 2016 foreign capital will no longer prop up the US war machine and politicians will turn their focus upon their newfound enemies, the American people. This from no less than CNBC http://www.cnbc.c...00461159 http://www.youtub...EBupAeo4
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 17, 2013
then that means keeping everybody productive that can be productive. In order to do this, they have to have customers for their product. If the private sector and the foreign sector are unwilling or unable to purchase all the product that can be produced


What product?
Needs and wants are infinite so if a product is not being consumed, there is no demand for the that product. Few buggy whips are demanded today, but there is a small market and they can be found.
The govt used to promote the production of milk and when demand fell below supply, the govt had to give the milk away as cheese. Taxpayers subsided products no one wanted. What a waste.
The function of free markets are to create products and services that are needed and wanted, and to create demand where none existed. Free markets then foster competition requiring efficiency.
Socialists like to leave out the needs and wants of the individual.

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