Americans remain deeply pessimistic about country's economic future

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 07, 2013 08:30 hrs

Americans remain deeply pessimistic about the nation's economic future nearly four years after the recovery, and a vast majority thinks it will take "many years" for things to return to the way they were before the downturn, according to a new poll.

The survey conducted by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University 'paints a picture of a nation wounded by the recession' in ways that have diminished future expectations.

The poll found that nearly one in four respondents said they were laid off at some point during the past four years.

It found that a larger number even said they had immediate family members or close friends who were thrown out of work, the Washington Post reports.

Many of those who found new jobs were forced to settle for less salary. Nearly half said they took a step down in status from their previous jobs, while 54 percent said they have had to accept lower pay.

Even though the economy has recovered more than half the nine million jobs lost during the Great Recession, the survey found that Americans perceive that the economy has descended to a new normal.

Fewer than one in five agree that jobs, careers and employment opportunities will be better for the next generation.

Nearly three in five said the ability of young people to afford college, a crucial, if ever more uncertain, factor in upward mobility, has been permanently damaged.

More than two in five believed workers will never feel as secure in their jobs as they did before the recession.

Nearly half said the elderly will have to find part-time work after retiring. And 86 percent of Americans said the availability of good jobs at good pay will never return or will not return for many years.

The survey found that most Americans are not expecting sharp improvement, as more than 61 percent expect their family finances to remain at their current diminished levels, the report said.

According to the report, the survey found strong support for three policy proposals aimed at improving the nation's labor market.

Eight in 10 wanted the government to award tax credits to employers that hire new workers. Three out of four supported stronger education and job training programs. And three out of five said the government should fund direct job creation programs, the report said.

At the same time, however, there was deep skepticism about Washington's ability to do anything to significantly improve the economy, the survey found. (ANI)

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