The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University has published an updated working paper, Categorizing the Unemployed by the Impact of the Recession, detailing the results of surveys conducted from August 2009 through August 2011 of American workers who lost a job during the height of the Great Recession.
According to the report, most of those polled have seen little evidence of the "recovery" that Washington and Wall Street keep harping on about.
Just 7% of the unemployed initially contacted by the Heldrich Center in the summer of 2009 have made it back to where they were before the recession. And just another 23% are on the way back — they have experienced a minor downward change in their quality of life that they believe will be temporary. Another third of those participating in the initial August 2009 survey can be thought of as downsized. Many here (11%) have taken a minor quality of life hit and say their financial situation is poor, but believe they will work their way out of it in time. Another 10% are in at least fair financial shape but report a minor downward change in their lifestyle they believe will be permanent.
The remaining 36% speak of cataclysmic effects of the Great Recession on them and their families. They comprise two groups, both of whom can be said to have been devastated. We consider 21% to be devastated because they are in poor financial shape and have suffered a major quality of life change, even if they believe it to be temporary. Also included in this group are respondents who report being in fair economic shape, but who have experienced a major decline in their lifestyle they expect to be permanent. Finally, there is a sizeable 15% who appear to have been wrecked by the recession. They are at the bottom on all three measures — they are in poor financial shape, have suffered a major change in lifestyle, and believe this new state of affairs will be a permanent condition.
I bet those folks just love hearing repeated assurances from Obama et al. that "the economy is continuing to heal" -- right?