Hard Choices: Navigating the Economic Shock of Unemployment explores how families weather job loss, with specific attention to differences by race and family income.
To provide greater insight into the challenges and choices families face, the report also draws on a unique set of in-depth interviews with 51 families who were unemployed for one month or more between 1998 and 2010.
The study finds that while families at every rung of the economic ladder experienced unemployment, their ability to withstand and recover from losses differed dramatically:
The stories in this report provide rich detail on family's efforts to patch together a variety of resources and strategies during periods of unemployment, including: household financial assets; family, friends and kinship networks; credit, debt and loans; and assistance from government and community-based organizations.
They highlight that unemployment and the trade-offs it requires affect families' short-term economic security and their long-term mobility prospects.
The report's findings also provide insight for policymakers seeking to help families build assets that can protect them in times of need and provide a foundation for future upward mobility.