It's Official, The Great American Dream is No More

The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, has a new study, The Shattered American Dream: Unemployed Workers Lose Ground, Hope, and Faith in their Futures. The study concludes what we already know, the Great American Dream is long gone, replaced with strife, struggle and financial pain.

A new 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.

From the survey, of the third who found a job, 61% believe they will never recover financially, 45% had to take a significant pay cut, with 60% of those losing over 20% of their former income.

What’s disturbing is how many have given up at least one essential – 80% of our panel has spent less on either food, housing, or health care. In fact, 51% of our panelists do not have health care benefits; this is true of 60% of the long-term unemployed.

Where are the Jobs? - BLS JOLTS August 2009 report

The BLS JOLTS report for August 2009 was released earlier this week and it's just damning on job creation in the United States.

The hires level was little changed at 4.0 million in August but has declined by 1.6 million, or 28 percent, since the most recent peak in July 2006. The hires rate was low in August at 3.1 percent and little changed from July. The hires rate was little changed in August in all industries.

JOLTS job openings 09-09

Rejecting a Job Applicant based on their Credit Score - Discrimination?

Is rejecting a job applicant based on a credit score discrimination? Credit Slips says yes.

From the New York Times, Another Hurdle for the Jobless: Credit Inquiries:

More than 40 percent of employers use credit checks at least sometimes, according to a 2004 survey by the Society for Human Resource Management, up from 25 percent in 1998.

and this lovely assumption from employers:

Business executives say that they have an obligation to be diligent and to protect themselves from employees who may be unreliable, unwise or too susceptible to temptation to steal, and that credit checks are a help.

From Credit Slips:

U.S. Service Economy Gets Rocked

I couldn't resist the drama. This headline is a reaction to all of the misleading headlines of the past week. The stock market is having trouble with this piece of news:

U.S. service industries unexpectedly contracted at a faster pace in July as concern over rising unemployment gripped consumers.

The Institute for Supply Management’s index of non- manufacturing businesses, which make up almost 90 percent of the economy, fell to 46.4 from 47 in June, according to the Tempe, Arizona-based group. Fifty is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.

EPI: 7 million jobs needed just to get back to before economic crisis levels

The Economic Policy Institute just released a detailed report on jobs.

When you look at these numbers, one realizes until all policy is addressed to stop the United States from hemorrhaging jobs, there will be no real economic recovery.

While the labor market has shed 5.1 million jobs since the start of the recession, it is important to keep in mind that in those 15 months, the population has continued to grow. Just to keep up with population growth, the economy must add approximately 127,000 jobs every month, which means 1.9 million jobs, should have been added over this period. In other words, the economy is now 7 million jobs below what is needed to maintain pre-recession employment levels.

That's a lot of jobs folks.

EPI:  job per population