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Job Security Polling Data

posted by Melissa Jacoby

Employment problems figure prominently in discussions about personal bankruptcy filings, so both the perception and reality of job security are relevant to those of us who study or work in the debtor-creditor system or who are trying to figure out whether people adequately recognize and prepare for adverse events.  Karlyn Bowman, a resident fellow of the American Enterprise Institute, has just posted a very useful updated set of major polling data on work and workers' perceptions -- see here for the press release and here for the report containing the polling data. 

It is particularly interesting to compare responses to questions about events that actually have happened (in the past to themselves or to other people) with questions about perceptions of their own job security risk.  For example, in a 2005 poll that asked whether their employer had laid off any employees in the past six months, 27% reported that there had been layoffs.  And 22% in a 2005 poll reported having been personally laid off or fired in the past five years (I can't tell from the report whether these 2005 results are from the same or different polls - check out pages 10-12 of the report).  But in April 2006, only 10% said it was very likely or fairly likely that they would lose their jobs (15% said they were worried about being laid off in a 2005 poll, in response to a differently worded question).  Readers also may want to check out the results of the questions about wage and benefit reductions.  Although interpreting the job loss findings together should be undertaken with care, they appear to present an interesting contrast to polling respondents' worries about falling deeply into medical debt that I wrote about when Credit Slips first began. 


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