NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - More Americans think that jobs, careers and employment opportunities after the pandemic will be harder to obtain for the next generation than they were following the 2008 Great Recession, according to a new Rutgers report.

The report, published by the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, found that less than half -- 46% of Americans surveyed at the end of 2020 -- are optimistic that economic conditions will improve in 2021, while 30% think conditions will deteriorate. The rest expect no change whatsoever.

“The scars of the Great Recession on workers and families were apparent midway through Joe Biden’s first term as vice president in August 2010 and as he entered his second term in January 2013,” says report co-author Carl Van Horn, director of the Heldrich Center. “As President Biden begins his presidency, Americans are experiencing dire financial and emotional trauma. They worry these negative realities will linger for many years.”

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The survey found that nine in 10 Americans are concerned, worried or scared when thinking about themselves, their families and the national economy while five in 10 Americans say recovery will happen but will likely take years. These beliefs are similar to the opinions Americans expressed in January 2013.

The researchers say 80% of Americans agree that political parties should work together to repair the economy. Both Democrats and Republicans are uneasy about the economy and their families, with nine out of 10 respondents saying they are concerned about the future.

While more respondents were worried about the job market after the Great Recession, Americans today are anxious about the direction of the federal government, threats to workers and jobs, citing the pandemic, jobs moving overseas and competition from other countries.

Jessica Starace, a research associate at the Heldrich Center, co-authored the report.

Twin Crises: The Economic Impact of COVID-19 and Americans’ Outlook for the Future is a report from the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development based at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers-New Brunswick. Researchers surveyed more than 800 people between Dec. 4 and 14, 2020. The report compared findings with a pre-election survey conducted between Oct. 21 and Nov. 1, 2020, and with Heldrich Center surveys conducted during and after the Great Recession.