At the end of the twentieth century, with the economy booming and unemployment at historic lows, the American economy was a job-producing marvel. The first decade of the twenty-first century was entirely different as the worst economy in seventy years, the Great Recession, crushed the lives of tens of millions of workers and their families, forestalled careers, scrapped hopes for a college education, delayed retirements, and foreclosed family homes. American workers experienced the best and worst of times and have endured an entire "lost decade" of high unemployment, stagnant or declining incomes, and anxiety. Working Scared draws upon nearly 25,000 interviews with employed and unemployed Americans conducted from, 1998 to 2012. These "voices" of American workers tell a compelling story about wrenching structural changes and recessions during one of the most volatile periods in U.S. economic history. This book represents one of the most comprehensive social science research portraits of the views of American workers' about their jobs, the workplace, and government's role in the labor market. Working Scared will help citizens, policy makers, educators, business, union, and community leaders better understand what is happening to the United States workforce. It also describes the essential national priorities and policies that will assist frustrated, angry and scared American workers and the reforms that will help restore the American dream of secure employment and intergenerational progress.
Carl E. Van Horn, Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and founding director of the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University, is an expert on workforce, human resources, and employment policy issues with extensive experience in academia and the public sector. He is the author of more than one hundred articles and author or editor of fourteen books. Van Horn is frequently sought by national media for his views on labor, workforce, and economic issues.
Introduction *The Work Trends Project, Data and Methods *Plan for the Book Chapter 1: The Katrina of Recessions *The Crash and the Scramble *A Silent Epidemic *No Safe Harbors for the Unemployed *Done with Denial Chapter 2: What Happened to Normal? The Volatile American Labor Market 1999 to 2012 *"The end of the world as we knew it" *Disappearing and Diminished Benefits at Work *The Post-Recession Job Market Chapter 3: The Disposable American Worker? Causes and Consequences *Four Drivers that Downsized the American Workforce *Education and Training Gaps *The Failed Worker/Employer Compact Chapter 4: Where are the Good Jobs? *Declining Satisfaction at Work *The Workplace Reality Gap A Tale of Two American Workplaces Chapter 5: Ending Retirement as We Knew It *Last Fired, Never Rehired *Devastating Consequences *What Older Workers Want-and Need Chapter 6: College Graduates Enter the Harsh Economy *Unfulfilled Expectations *More Grinders than Slackers *Does College Pay and Will it? Chapter 7: Unfinished Business: Recovering from the Great Recession *Economic Recovery Plans and Economic Realities *Reconnecting the Long-Term Unemployed *Policy Gridlock Chapter 8: Restoring the Shattered American Dream *Building Consensus *21st Century policies for a 21st century economy *A New Compact for a Productive Workforce and Prosperous Economy Appendix: Summary of Survey Results with Links to Extensive Reports and Data Charts and Tables