Here’s some sobering news going into Labor Day Weekend out of the Rutgers University’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development.
Despite the S&P 500 hitting record highs earlier this week, seven in 10 Americans continue to believe the Great Recession’s impact has been permanent, up from half in 2009, when the recession officially ended. This finding, and other equally gloomy stats, are featured CWD’s latest Work Trends report, released yesterday and appropriately titled Unhappy, Worried and Pessimistic: Americans in the Aftermath of the Great Recession. These latest stats are based on a survey, conducted between July 24 and Aug. 3, of 1,153 Americans.
Among the other findings in the report …
Most Americans do not think the economy has improved in the last year or that it will in the next.
Just one in six Americans believe that job opportunities for the next generation will be better than for theirs; five years ago, four in 10 held that view.
Roughly four in five Americans have little or no confidence that the federal government will make progress on the nation’s most important problems over the next year.”
Five years of recovery, sustained job growth and reductions in the number of unemployed workers still hasn’t convinced Americans that the economy is improving, points out Carl Van Horn, a Rutgers professor and co-author of the report.
Only one in three Americans questioned thinks the U.S. economy has gotten better in the last year, one-quarter thinks it will improve next year and just one in six believe that job opportunities will be better for the next generation of American workers, down from four in 10 five years ago, according to Van Horn.
Moreover, the study confirms that the Great Recession took a personal toll on many of the respondents. Indeed, only one in three of the nation’s 240 million adults reported that they were completely “unscathed” by the recession. Asked to describe, using a list of a dozen words or phrases, today’s typical American worker, just 14 percent checked off happy at work and only 18 percent believe they are well paid. Two-thirds say that American workers are “not secure in their jobs” and “highly stressed.”
Not surprisingly, many of those questions were critical of Washington policymakers, with more disapproving of the job President Obama is doing (46 percent to 54 percent) and even fewer approving of the job Congress is doing (14 percent).
True, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise that most Americans aren’t terribly upbeat about the state of things today. Certainly, there has been no shortage of stories in the news these days detailing the plights of many who are struggling. What is surprising, though, is the extent of the level of pessimism cited in the Rutgers report, especially when you factor in the amount of time that has passed since the latest recession was declared officially over.
Taken as a whole, it would suggest that employers and their HR leaders, once back on the jobs next Tuesday, have some serious work ahead when it comes to ensuring that their workforces remain fully engaged and focused.Twitter It!