You're Laid Off

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

Author: Richard Morin

04/16/2008 - At a time when the American economy is trending down and the unemployment rate is ticking up, one out of every seven U.S. workers fear they will be laid off in the next 12 months, according to a recent Pew Social and Demographic Trends survey.

The telephone survey of 2,413 adults, conducted from Jan. 24 through Feb. 19, 2008, finds that 15% of all workers say it is at least somewhat likely that they will be laid off in the coming year while 84% say there is little or no chance they will lose their job.

Fear of falling into the ranks of the unemployed varies dramatically across key demographic groups. Fully a quarter of all employed Hispanics (26%) say they fear they'll be let go in the next 12 months, about double the proportion of non-Hispanic whites (12%) and significantly more than the 17% of blacks who are concerned about layoffs.

Those least able to afford losing a paycheck are the most likely to be concerned that they'll lose their job. Nearly one-in-four (23%) workers with family incomes below $30,000 fear they'll be laid off in the coming months, as do 21% of those with a high school degree or less education.

In contrast, relatively few working adults with college degrees (10%) or those who earn $100,000 or more (8%) say they're at much risk of being laid off.

As these findings suggest, Americans on the lower rungs of the social and economic ladder feel the most vulnerable to losing their jobs. One-in-four adults who say they are members of the lower class fear they will be laid off this year -- five times more than the share of Americans who identify with the upper classes.

Read the complete findings You're Laid Off on the Pew Research Center Web site.

Read more about economic trends in Pew Social Trends latest report, Inside the Middle Class: Bad Times Hit the Good Life.

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