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A New Study Shows U.S. Workers Still Worried About Being Laid Off

worried man at work

Congratulations! After two years of unemployment, you have finally landed a job. 

But it has been a long, extremely difficult journey for you. First, you were laid off in 2012, which led to a brief period of depression. For a while, you were living off of your unemployment insurance benefits and the six-months of emergency savings that you had tucked away. When those funds were depleted, you had to get a part-time job; and lived off of your extended long-term unemployment benefits.

By 2013, however, Congress allowed the federal unemployment benefits extension to expire, which left you, again, struggling to make ends meet. This led to filing for bankruptcy, a longer period of depression, and the need for you to get another part-time job. But despite all of the setbacks, you kept fighting to survive and finally landed full-time employment. The problem is you also are still a bit concerned that you might get laid off again. Well, you are not alone.

Agonizing over Job Security

Today, you are slowly; but surely working hard to dig yourself out of the debt that you incurred during unemployment. And despite the fact that you finally earned a full-time job earning a great salary with a really good company, you are still uneasy about the stability of the position. According to a recent Gallup poll, you are among the one in five or over 15 percent of U.S. full- and part-time employees who are nervous about being laid off, which is a slight drop of over 25 percent from 2013. Gallup’s Work and Education Poll, conducted annually, also found that employees’ concerns about important work-related matters have significantly increased since 2008, a year before the Great Recession.

“While conventional metrics such as the unemployment rate and speed of economic activity -- both of which have painted a brighter economic picture lately -- are helpful in assessing the labour market’s vitality, measures of American workers’ feelings of security are also telling,” said Andrew Dugan, a Gallup researcher. “Since 2009, Gallup has seen a heightened, persistent fear among U.S. workers about their job status, pay, and benefits, even as the economy slowly recovered -- pointing to a difficult job market.”

In addition to concerns about being laid off, over 30 percent of employees also fear that their benefits will be cut, according to the Gallup poll. From Aug. 7 until Aug. 10, 2014, over 20 percent of employees also said they were afraid that their salaries would be slashed, which is a slight decrease from over 30 percent of employees who responded to the poll in August 2013. But the worries didn’t stop there. Over 20 percent of employees said they are equally concerned that employers will chop their hours.

It seems that the only work-related issue that Americans don’t worry about is outsourcing with only 8 percent concerned. Now you are wondering whether or not you have a right to agonize over job security?

Today’s Job Market Reality 

Like many Americans, and other folks around the world, you have endured a lot of hardships over the last couple of years. According to the L.A. Times, trillions of dollars of wealth had been depleted; tens of thousands of mortgages were lost; and over 5 million jobs have disappeared since the Great Recession. To make matters worse, says Forbes, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current unemployment statistics of over 6 percent are distorted.

“Despite the significant decrease in the official U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) unemployment rate, the real unemployment rate is over double that at 12.6%,” says Louis Efron, a Forbes’ contributor and the author of How to Find a Job and Career and Life You Love, which is available at LouisEfron.com. “This number reflects the government’s ‘U-6’ report, which accounts for the full unemployment picture including those ‘marginally attached to the labor force,’ plus those ‘employed part time for economic reasons’.”

The reality is that all of the above reasons are why you probably find it extremely difficult to get comfortable in your new position. You know, maybe it is not a good idea to celebrate or decorate your new cubicle yet. A better idea is to start saving another six months of emergency funds. That is after you climb your way out of debt.


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