While the economy has shown some recovery in recent years, it hasn't been enough for some.
Of the nearly 30 million people who were laid off since the Great Recession ended in 2009, one in five has never been able to find another job, while 40 percent said it took them more then seven months to get rehired, according to a new report from the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.
Of those who did find work, it was typically a step backward financially. The research revealed that nearly half of the workers who were able to secure a new job were paid less than their previous one.
"Given these experiences, it is no surprise that nearly half (44 percent) of these reemployed workers say their new job was a step down for them compared to what they were doing five years ago," the study's authors wrote. "Just a quarter say their new job was a step up and only a third say they are receiving higher pay."
Being out of work for an extended period of time really took a toll financially on many workers. The study revealed that more than 70 percent of those who have been out of work on a long-term basis — more than 27 weeks — have less in both savings and income than they did five years ago and more than 80 percent rate their personal financial situation negatively, compared with just 58 percent of employed Americans. [Getting an Interview Toughest for Unemployed ]
The struggles of the long-term unemployed have been vast. The study discovered that 31 percent have missed a mortgage payment, 23 percent moved in with family or a friend to save money, 33 percent borrowed money from friends or family, 42 percent sold some of their possessions to make ends meet and 67 percent experienced stress in family relationships and close friendships during their time without a job.
"While a majority of Americans were affected by the Great Recession, those who had long-term periods of unemployment experienced severe, negative changes in their standard of living," the study's authors wrote. "The foundation of what Americans regard as essential elements of the American Dream of upward mobility was eroded by the Great Recession and its aftermath."
Being out of work for an extended period of time also changed many employees' outlook on retirement. The research discovered that 55 percent of the long-term unemployed say they'll need to retire later than planned because of the recession, while 5 percent say the weak economy forced them into early retirement.
Many of those who have been out of work for a significant amount of time don't see things improving anytime soon. More than 80 percent of those surveyed expect their financial situation to either stay the same or get worse over the next year.
Overall, nearly half of the long-term unemployed say it will take three to 10 years for their families to recover financially, while another 20 percent say it will take longer than that or that they'll never recover.
A growing number of Americans, both the employed and unemployed, think the government should be proactive in trying to improve the job-market situation. The study found that 45 percent of those surveyed believe the federal government should be taking actions to reduce unemployment rather waiting until the private-sector economy improves, up from just 33 percent who felt the same four years ago.
"Employed and unemployed workers alike support a wide array of strategies to help the long-term unemployed who are still struggling," the study's authors wrote. "Policies to create jobs building or repairing the nation’s roads and bridges, providing training programs and incentives to businesses to hire the unemployed received broad support."
The study was based on surveys of 394 unemployed workers looking for work, of whom 389 have been unemployed for more than six months or who were unemployed for a period of more than six months at some point in the last five years.
Originally published on Business News Daily