No End in Sight: The Agony of Prolonged Unemployment

Posted by Mary Alice McCarthy - On May 04, 2010 (EST)

Despite positive signs of economic growth and a rising stock market, millions of unemployed American workers see no end to the Great Recession that wrecked their finances and threw their lives into turmoil. A new nationwide survey conducted in March 2010 of more than 900 workers who were jobless in August 2009 documents their continuing struggle to find jobs and the sacrifices they have endured in a punishing economy.

The report, entitled No End in Sight: The Agony of Prolonged Unemployment, was prepared by professors Carl Van Horn and Cliff Zukin of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, a research and policy center at Rutgers University. The report is based on a six-month follow-up survey with the national scientific sample of unemployed Americans reported in the Heldrich Center's widely acclaimed Anguish of Unemployment report released in September 2009. Seventy-six percent of those interviewed in August 2009 were re-interviewed by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, California between March 10 and 23 of this year.

No End in Sight underscores that positive growth in the nation's economy has done little to reach millions of skilled workers still adrift in the most severe period of prolonged joblessness in decades. According to Professor Van Horn, the study's co-author:

"Despite recent signs that the worst phase of the Great Recession may be behind us, the vast majority of jobless Americans have not found new jobs. When they did find work, most took pay cuts and/or lost benefits. Among those still searching for work -- many for more than a year -- are millions who have never been without a job and who have at least a college education. The inability of these job seekers to find new opportunities is an economic and cultural disaster."

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