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The Long-Term Unemployed and Unemployment Insurance


A new research brief from the Heldrich Center, The Long-Term Unemployed and Unemployment Insurance: Evidence from a Panel Study of Workers Who Lost a Job During the Great Recession, presents the key findings from a panel study of the long-term unemployment workers who reported that they lost a job during the Great Recession.

The brief examines differences and similarities among unemployed workers who did and did not receive Unemployment Insurance. It also highlights the experiences of those who exhausted their Unemployment Insurance benefits before they were able to find another job.


Categorizing the Unemployed by the Impact of the Recession

In August 2009, the Heldrich Center began following a nationally representative sample of American workers who lost a job during the height of the Great Recession. The research began with a cross-sectional sample of 1,202 who had said they had lost a job at some point in the preceding 12 months (between August 2008 and 2009).

They were resurveyed in March 2010, again in November 2010, and then in August 2011. A total of 3,972 individual surveys were completed over the two years. Well over half of the original respondents participated in all four waves of the project.

Categorizing the Unemployed by the Impact of the Recession, a new working paper by Dr. Cliff Zukin, Dr. Carl Van Horn, and Charley Stone, analyzes answers to three of the questions from the surveys in order to characterize the experiences of the unemployed. The questions are:

1. How would you rate your own personal financial situation: excellent shape, good shape, only fair shape, or poor shape?

2. Overall, has the recession caused: a major change in your lifestyle, a minor change in your lifestyle, or no change in your lifestyle?

3. Do you think the impact on your standard of living will be permanent or temporary? (Asked of those who said major or minor change in question #2.)

The data presented in this paper were derived from the September 2011 Work Trends survey, Out of Work and Losing Hope: The Misery and Bleak Expectations of American Workers.

A number of media outlets have covered this paper, including:


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Growth in women's share of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) occupations declined to 27% in 2011from a high of 34% in 1990. While women make up nearly half of the workforce, they were 26% of the STEM workforce in 2011.

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