Archive for Sunday, September 2, 2001

Economic downturn depresses workers, labor survey shows

September 2, 2001


— The almost daily announcements of layoffs have created an uncertainty among America's workers that dampens this Labor Day for many.

For Monica Hinojos, the headlines are more than just depressing news they are reality. Hinojos, 32, of Boston has been laid off twice this year, her jobs among the thousands of casualties of a softening economy.

"I wouldn't say I'm bitter, but I don't see loyalty in the same way," she said.

That is true for a lot of workers, according to a survey of 2,785 workers returning questionnaires to Walker Information, an Indianapolis research firm.

Just 24 percent of the workers responding said they were committed to the company they work for and plan to stay at least two years. Only about half said they would recommend their employer to others seeking a job.

Today's worker makes an average of $14.27, works 34.2 hours a week, gets an average of 9.3 paid holidays per year and has held the current job an average of 3.5 years, according to the Labor Department's Bureau of Statistics.

Hinojos got her latest pink slip last week, from Computerworld magazine, where she worked in the events department. She had been there for two months.

Layoffs have driven the nation's unemployment rate from a 30-year-low of 3.9 percent in October to 4.5 percent in July. Many economists are predicting the jobless rate will continue to rise.

Americans are putting in the longest hours in the industrialized world, spending nearly one week more on the job per year than they did a decade ago, according to the International Labor Organization.

The barrier between work and off-time also appears to be eroding. About 43 percent of people surveyed by Ipsos-Reid Corp., said they spend their time off dealing with work issues.

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