The Great Recession: Facts and Figures
The current recession has profoundly impacted Americans’ pocketbooks, but questions about the country’s financial woes persist: how harsh has the recession really been, and when will it end?
In response to these questions, the Pew Research Center recently released the results of a study showing the dramatic effects of the financial plunge, though it revealed little about the timing of economic recovery.
In the most staggering finding of the study, during the last 30 months, 55 percent of all adults in the labor force have experienced unemployment, a reduction in pay or hours, or have been involuntarily relegated to part-time work. Thus, the recession has had a profoundly negative impact on a majority of working adults.
Economic Casualties of the Recession
The study released some truly alarming realities of the Great Recession. Some of the more eye-opening effects of the financial crisis are listed below.
- One-third of working adults have faced unemployment: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 percent of eligible workers are currently either out of work or underemployed. However, this figure doesn’t tell the whole story, as the Pew Research study found that 1 in 3 adult workers (32 percent) have been unemployed for some period of time during the recession.
- Frugality by necessity: At least 62 percent of those surveyed claimed they have reduced their personal spending since December 2007, when the recession officially began. Even more telling, only 6 percent have increased their spending since that time.
- Retirement delayed for many: People in late middle age, between 50 and 64, were the most likely to say their finances are in worse shape than they were before the recession. Moreover, among working adults age 62 and older, about 33 percent say the recession has forced them to delay retirement. For working adults in their 50s, at least 60 percent fear they may also have to delay retirement.
- Losses hit close to home: As a result of the recession, 48 percent of Americans have seen the value of their house decline. Such losses in home value have resulted in increased mortgage foreclosures, one of the most enduring features of the recession.
Cause for Hope?
While the study revealed the wake of financial struggles in the recession’s path, it also expressed some optimism for the future.
In fact, more than 62 percent of Americans believe that their finances will improve during the next year. Also, 41 percent of those surveyed offered an even sunnier forecast, claiming that the economy is beginning to come out of the recession.
If you have found your finances severely threatened by the recession, consider contacting a personal bankruptcy attorney.