Author(s): Carl E. Van Horn director of Heldrich Center for Workforce Development Rutgers University
At the end of the twentieth century, with the economy booming and unemployment at historic lows, the American economy was a job-producing marvel. The first decade of the twenty-first century was entirely different as the worst economy in seventy years, the Great Recession, crushed the lives of tens of millions of workers and their families, forestalled careers, scrapped hopes for a college education, delayed retirements, and foreclosed family homes. American workers experienced the best and worst of times and have endured an entire lost decade of high unemployment, stagnant or declining incomes, and anxiety. Working Scared draws upon nearly 25,000 interviews with employed and unemployed Americans conducted from, 1998 to 2012. These voices of American workers tell a compelling story about wrenching structural changes and recessions during one of the most volatile periods in U.S. economic history. This book represents one of the most comprehensive social science research portraits of the views of American workers about their jobs, the workplace, and governments role in the labor market. Working Scared will help citizens, policy makers, educators, business, union, and community leaders better understand what is happening to the United States workforce. It also describes the essential national priorities and policies that will assist frustrated, angry and scared American workers and the reforms that will help restore the American dream of secure employment and intergenerational progress.