How the Great Recession has Impacted U.S. Workers

The past few years have been life-changing for the American working class. Attacks on our quality of life by the bosses and their government have been non-stop.

Since 2007, 55 percent of adults in the US have directly suffered the punishing effects of the recession in the form of lost jobs, pay cuts, reduction of hours, forced unpaid leave, being dropped from full-time to part-time work involuntarily.

In what has been the biggest meltdown in household wealth in the post-World War II era, half of all homeowners have watched their homes fall in value over the past few years. Average household wealth has fallen by 20 percent.

These figures were revealed by an extensive investigation by the Pew Research Center in June of this year.

Unemployment LineThirty-two percent of adults have suffered unemployment at some point during the crisis. The average unemployed worker has been out of a job for over six months. These surges in long-term unemployment, along with the mass impact on average household wealth, are two key factors that have qualified this crisis as the most severe since the Great Depression.

As a result, many have taken a blow to their career and future paths. The struggle to pay bills and make ends meet has forced many people to withdraw from their savings and retirement accounts. According to the investigation, which included nearly 3,000 phone interviews, a third of Americans are not confident they will have enough savings to finance a retirement. Many working people in their 60s have had to delay retirement due to the recession and among workers in their 50s, about six-in-ten expect they will have to do the same.

These conditions have many working people seeing a dim future. Over a quarter of adults believe that when their children become the age they are now, they will experience a lower standard of living. There are numerous long term indicators that more attacks on workers’ living standards and conditions are down the road. Every year, jobs are sent overseas by the hundreds of thousands. Service sector workers face replacement by automated technology. Higher-paid skilled jobs are replaced by cheaper unskilled jobs along with new labor-saving innovations. Full-time workers turn into part-timers and lose their benefits.

The WIL has repeatedly pointed out that this crisis was created by the big banks and businesses and yet the burdens are invariably placed on the backs of workers. As the inequality gap continues to widen, one crisis only lays the foundation for further crises.

These conditions are screaming for unorganized workers to unionize, and for the unionized to mobilize! Join us in fighting for a class independent mass party of labor based on the unions to fight back against the attacks of big business and their political representatives.


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