A Closer Look

Unemployed during Covid in US – Most have considered changing occupations

About half of U.S. adults who are currently unemployed and are looking for a job are pessimistic about their prospects for future employment.

A new Pew Research Center survey finds that about half of U.S. adults who are currently unemployed, furloughed or temporarily laid off and are looking for a job are pessimistic about their prospects for future employment, and most say they’ve seriously considered changing fields or occupations since they’ve been unemployed. Many say they’ve experienced more emotional or mental health issues during the time they’ve been out of work.

The Center’s survey, conducted Jan. 19-24, finds that 49% of adults who are unemployed and looking for work say they are pessimistic they will find a job in the near future: 18% are very pessimistic about this and 31% are somewhat pessimistic. A similar share (51%) are optimistic, with 15% saying they are very optimistic and 36% saying they are somewhat optimistic.

For some, that positive outlook comes with a caveat. Among those who say they’re optimistic about finding a job, a substantial minority – 37% – say they are not too or not at all confident they will find a job that pays as much and provides the same benefits they had in their last job. Among all unemployed adults, 55% say they are not confident they’ll find a job with the same income and benefits; 45% say they are somewhat or very confident this will happen.

Not only are many unemployed adults feeling discouraged about their future job prospects, two-thirds say that, since losing their jobs, they have seriously considered changing their occupation or field of work. This sentiment is shared by lower-income unemployed adults, as well as those with middle or upper incomes. (Incomes are based on 2019 earnings.) A third of unemployed adults say they have already taken steps to retool their skills by pursuing job retraining programs or educational opportunities.

Even so, most unemployed adults (70%) believe they have the education and training they need to get a job. Those with a bachelor’s degree or more education (87%) are more likely to say this than those with less education (66%).

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story @ Most unemployed Americans have considered changing occupations during COVID-19 | Pew Research Center

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