Research Topics

Unemployment & Reemployment

While the job market in New Jersey is improving, more than 41% of the state’s job seekers — over 125,000 individuals — have been jobless for more than six months, giving New Jersey the second highest long-term unemployment rate in the nation. Additionally, thousands more have given up and dropped out of the labor force.

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.

In 2014, the Heldrich Center conducted research that explored a range of issues related to skills training and education for older workers, including the challenges older workers face when deciding whether to enroll in education and training programs, and, if so, how to choose a program and pay for it. A project report and brief (both available below) examine the vast array of education and training options at postsecondary institutions, employers, and community-based organizations, and the resources available to help older workers make informed selections.