Rutgers Study: Long-Term Unemployed 'Devastated' By Joblessness

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According to a new study from Rutgers University, one in five workers laid off in the past five years are still unemployed. That's just one of numerous findings in the study, titled "Left Behind," many of which paint a bleak picture of a post-Recession America that has yet to find its footing.

Among the long-time unemployed workers surveyed, 51 percent said their finances had suffered over the past five years; just as tellingly, 61 percent said they didn't expect their bank accounts to improve. Meanwhile, only 23 percent of employed workers said their wallets had taken a comparable hit.

One in four long-term unemployed workers, meanwhile, described themselves as "devastated" by their experiences.

"While the worst effects of the Great Recession are over for most Americans, the brutal realities of diminished living standards endure for the 3 million American workers who remain jobless years after they were laid off," Rutgers policy professor Carl Van Horn, who co-directed the study, told NorthJersey.com. "These long-term unemployed workers have been left behind to fend for themselves as they struggle to pull their lives back together."According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9.6 million people were unemployed nationwide in August--2.96 million of them out of work for 27 weeks or more. Wages haven't kept up with inflation rates, and long-term unemployment continues to be a stigma for many potential employers.

Elsewhere, the study found that a mere 38 percent of those jobless workers are receiving unemployment insurance benefits. Among those who did, half saw their benefits run out before they were able to find a job.

"Our economy is shifting from full time jobs to contract and temporary employment. High health costs and companies' desire to cut costs is driving this, which will continue into the foreseeable future," John Fugazzie, founder of jobseeker support group Neighbors Helping Neighbors, told AOL Jobs. "Clearly many hiring managers and employers see long-term unemployed as being damaged in some way, which is not true today, but was more true years ago when there were the adequate number of jobs."

Fugazzie characterized many professionals dealing with long-term unemployment as older, experienced, and educated, making them more expensive propositions to employers than other workers.

The Rutgers study found that 45 percent of the surveyed support government policies intended to help those who have been jobless for over six months. For longer periods of unemployment, though, only 33 percent would support longer and higher insurance benefits.

Click here to see the rest of the Rutgers study.
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