The Great Recession at 30 Months

Jun 30, 2010

More than half (55%) of all adults in the labor force say that since the Great Recession 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, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center's Social and Demographic Trends Project.

The survey also finds that the recession has led to a new frugality in Americans' spending and borrowing habits; a diminished set of expectations about their retirements and their children's future; and a concern that it will take several years, at a minimum, for their family finances and house values to recover.

Not all survey findings are bleak. More than six-in-ten (62%) Americans believe that their personal finances will improve in the coming year, and a small but growing minority (15%) now says the national economy is in good shape.

These green shoots of public optimism are not evenly distributed -- nor do they always sprout from the most likely sources. Several groups that have been hardest hit by this recession (including blacks, young adults and Democrats) are significantly more upbeat than their more sheltered counterparts (including whites, older adults and Republicans) about a recovery both for themselves and for the national economy.

Read the full report, The Great Recession at 30 Months on the Pew Research Center Social and Demographic Trends Project Web site.

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