Most Americans Know Someone Affected By Layoffs

July 1, 2003 ( - More than six out of 10 Americans say they know someone who has been laid off or fired recently, the highest percentage since the collapse of the late 1990s economic boom.

The latest figure (63%) continues the ascent of those knowing laid-off workers over the past few years. In August 2001, 43% said they knew someone who had been laid off or fired recently; by October 2001, the percentage had grown to 50%, according to the results of a recent Gallup poll.

Unemployment is definitely on the collective psyche of workers. An increasing number of Americans cite unemployment or jobs as the most important problem facing the country. A substantial proportion said they could survive without a job for only about a month before “experiencing significant financial hardship.”

Additionally, the n ational job outlook remains bleak. When Americans were asked if now is a good time to find a quality job, the answer has been a resounding “no” for the 19 straight months since Gallup began asking this question on a routine basis in October 2001. More recently, when polled about their outlook toward the job market right now, 23% responded to this being a good time to find a quality job. Conversely, a full three-quarters of the survey respondents said this is a bad time.