In early 2009, as the economy was in the depths of the recession, we predicted that the total 2009 net job loss would be even greater than in 2008. But we never imagined that in 2009 there were would be a 57% increase in net job loss. That translates to 1.5 million more jobs lost is 2009 (4.1 million) than in 2008 (2.6 million).
After a net loss of almost 7 million jobs since 2008, the increase in GDP over the past two quarters, by definition, indicates that the recession is over. While the unemployment has always been a lagging indicator in an economic recovery (e.g., decrease in unemployment several months after GDP increases) in this recovery there has been a net job loss since the recession statistically ended, resulting in an increase in unemployment AND an increase in GDP - hence, what is called the job recovery.
What does this mean for employees, many who have contributed to the rise in GDP through the rise in productivity? Surveys conducted by Allen Analytics suggest that many employees are at their "breaking point." Overworked and underpaid for the amount of work they do, a large number of employees are keeping their organizations afloat, but at what price?
The jobless recovery is a "double whammy" for many employees. Caught in the new normal of doing more with less, employees whose workloads have increased due to layoffs are unlikely to see a reprieve any time soon. And to add insult to injury, employee mobility is at an all-time low given few other companies are hiring.
What can you do to determine how your employees are feeling about the economy? Surveying employees is key first step to determine what the impact is now, and what will happen once the labor force begins growing again. We recommend you be sure and include five key questions to get a clear understanding of these issues. These are typical questions asked in a survey and are measure on a 5-point agree scale.
While it remains to be seen just how long the jobless recovery will continue, one thing is certain: there will be a job growth recovery, and organizations that address the above issues, during tough times, will reap huge benefits and emerge even stronger once the economy recovers.
Dave Allen, Ph.D., is the Founder of Allen Analytics, a firm that specializes in employee survey research. click here to contact him.