New Heldrich brief: Whipsawed, Precarious, and Pessimistic: Americans’ Changing Views About the Economy and Labor Market During a Decade of Fundamental Change

Despite significant improvements in the labor market since the Great Recession and the depths of the pandemic, and with historically low levels of unemployment, Americans’ attitudes about the economy have soured, according to Work Trends surveys conducted over more than a decade by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University.

A new brief from the Heldrich Center examines Americans’ opinions about the labor market and an array of economic indicators, including the cost of living, which remains Americans’ greatest concern.

The brief also explores Americans’ opinions by income and age, with America’s lowest earners most concerned about the job market, the unemployment rate, and the ability to financially support their households. The latest Work Trends survey was conducted April 7 to 10, 2023 of a national probability sample of 1,026 U.S. adults age 18 and older.

The brief was written by Carl Van Horn, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Public Policy at Rutgers University and Director of the Heldrich Center, and Jessica Starace, MPP, Research Associate.