Research Topics

Unemployment & Reemployment

In 2000, the Heldrich Center completed a quasi-experimental evaluation that used Unemployment Insurance wage records to measure the employment experiences of dislocated workers who received a training grant from the State of New Jersey. These outcomes were compared to the experiences of similar group of dislocated workers who did not receive training. The outcome analysis was supplemented by a telephone survey of individuals receiving an Individual Training grant to determine their perceptions of the effect of the training.

While the job market is improving, more than 4 in 10 of New Jersey’s unemployed job seekers — over 125,000 individuals — have been jobless for more than six months, giving New Jersey one of the highest rates of long-term unemployment in the nation. Three-quarters of these individuals have been unemployed over a year, and half of them are over the age of 45. The public workforce system provides few services targeted specifically to the needs of older, long-term unemployed job seekers. Additionally, reliable, unbiased information for job seekers can be hard to find.

Unemployment causes great stress not only on the individual who lost their job, but also to their entire family. The impact of unemployment has been researched at length by the Heldrich Center through its Work Trends surveys. From verbatim accounts from the unemployed to opinions of Americans who have been seeking employment for a year or longer, an in-depth portrait of social and economic experience is provided.

A series of Work Trends reports focused on retirement, and explored the opinions of Americans as they described their expectations of retirement as well as their views of how older workers are treated in the workforce. In Taking Stock of Retirement, workers described a workplace in which trust between employer and employee is often lacking, while employers’ views are in contrast, stating the workplace is harmonious.

A series of Work Trends surveys examined American workers’ opinions about their work-life balance and feelings about the economy. Disquiet about the economy and uncertainty of the future were expressed in Anxious American Worker. Overall job satisfaction remained high at the time of the survey, though the positive number masked underlying concerns such as work life and hours worked. At a Crossroads examined concerns about the state of the economy on the eve of the 2004 presidential election.