The American public's sour mood is in interesting contrast with many of the public's views during the Great Depression of the 1930s, not only on economic, political and social issues, but also on the role of government in addressing them.
In the depths of the 1981-1982 recession, Americans were far more displeased with their president and his policies than were their predecessors during the Great Depression, more so even than in today's high-unemployment economy.
Immigrants are gaining jobs at a time when native-born workers continue to sustain losses. Foreign-born workers job gains may be the result of greater flexibility with regard to wages and hours of work or greater mobility. But despite rising employment, immigrants have experienced a sharp decline in earnings as well as a still substantial net loss in jobs.
When researchers look at possible links among social, economic and demographic trends -- such as the current recession and declining marriage rates -- they face a challenge. Two trends may be heading in the same direction, but are they related? Correlation, the statisticians frequently warn, is no guarantee of causation.
For a narrow majority of Americans (55%), the Great Recession brought a mix of unemployment, missed mortgage or rent payments, shrinking paychecks and shattered household budgets. But for the other 45%, the recession was largely free of such difficulties.
Nearly six-in-ten Americans say it is “unacceptable” for homeowners to stop making their mortgage payments, but more than a third say the practice of “walking away” from a home mortgage is acceptable under certain circumstances. Homeowners whose home values declined during the recession and those who have spent time unemployed are more likely to say that “walking away” from a mortgage is acceptable.
One child in 10 in the U.S. lives with a grandparent, a share that increased slowly and steadily over the past decade before rising sharply from 2007 to 2008, the first year of the Great Recession. About 40% of all children who live with a grandparent (or grandparents) are also being raised primarily by that grandparent.
Workers who suffered a spell of unemployment during the recession are, on average, less satisfied with their new jobs than workers who didn’t. These re-employed workers also are more likely to consider themselves over-qualified for their current position. And six-in-ten say they changed careers or seriously thought about it while they were unemployed.
More than half (55%) of adults in the labor force say that since the economic slump began 30 months ago, they have suffered a spell of unemployment, a cut in pay, a reduction in hours or have become involuntary part-time workers; the recession has also led to a new frugality and diminished expectations about retirement and their children's future.
There is broad public agreement that past government policies intended to address the financial crisis and recession have not worked. At the same time, there is very little agreement about what the government should do now to deal with the nation’s biggest economic concern -- the job situation.