The director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University – Carl Van Horn – made the following statement about a new Rutgers survey on unemployment:
Millions of unemployed Americans are suffering economic and personal catastrophes. This is not your ordinary dip in the business cycle. Americans believe that this is the Katrina of recessions. Folks are on their rooftops without a boat. The water is rising, and many see no way out.
The Rutgers survey found, among other things, that many of those who have lost their jobs are poorly positioned to deal with their circumstances:
The survey finds that 60% of the recently unemployed lost their jobs suddenly, without advance warning. Eight in ten got two week’s notice or less. Just 15% of the jobless received any severance, and virtually none were offered retraining. Three in four unemployed workers say the economic situation has had a major impact on them and their family.
Only 40% of the currently unemployed received unemployment insurance to help them weather the economic crisis and 83% of those who did receive aid are concerned that their benefits will run out before they find a job. Underscoring another important debate, only half of the jobless have health benefits.