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The Shattered American Dream

December 16, 2010

This survey of unemployed American workers documents dramatic erosion in the quality of life for millions of Americans. Their financial reserves are exhausted, their job prospects nil, their family relations stressed, and their belief in government's ability to help them is negligible. They feel hopeless and powerless, unable to see their way out of the Great Recession that has claimed 8.5 million jobs.The survey shows that only one-quarter of those first interviewed in August 2009 have found full-time jobs some 15 months later. And most of those who have become reemployed have taken jobs they did not really want for less pay. Moreover, the recession has wreaked havoc on the retirement plans of older workers.The Heldrich Center first interviewed a national sample of 1,202 unemployed workers in August 2009, using the web-enabled KnowledgePanel(R) conducted by Knowledge Networks of Menlo Park, CA. Just over 900 were re-interviewed in March 2010, and 764 were re-interviewed between November 5 and 28, 2010 for this report.

American Workers Assess an Economic Disaster

September 1, 2010

Nearly three years into a devastating economic recession, American workers are deeply pessimistic about prospects for economic recovery. The majority believe that the nationas economy has undergone a fundamental and lasting change, according to American Workers Assess an Economic Disaster, a new nationwide Work Trends survey from the Heldrich Center.Some of the key findings of the national survey are:Nearly three in four (73%) Americans have been directly affected by a recession that is unprecedented in its length and severity. Nearly two in three of those surveyed expect the United States to still be in a recession next year; another 18% fear a depression is coming. More than half (56%) think the U.S. economy has undergone a fundamental and lasting change as opposed to a temporary downturn (43%). Fully 41% anticipate that the United States will be experiencing similar economic conditions a year from now while another quarter (27%) actually believes the economy will get worse before it gets better. Nearly 9 in 10 Americans (86%) who are still working express at least some concern about their job security; half of them report being very concerned.