The Impact of the Recession on Employers


Ellen Galinsky and James T. Bond

Economic recessions are associated with significant revenue and earning declines for most employers, and, consequently, with higher rates of unemployment and underemployment for American employees—as well as with other changes in life on the job.

In order to better understand the impact of the current recession on the U.S. labor force and on employers, the Families and Work Institute (FWI) surveyed a random sample of U.S. employers with 50 or more employees in May of 2009. Please see the information in Research Design and Methodology on page 25 for a description of the study design and implementation.

Although the popular media has addressed this issue at some length in recent months, the information presented has been largely anecdotal or based on surveys of specific populations, such as consultants surveying their clients or membership organizations surveying their members. It is important to move beyond speculation to see how a nationally representative sample of employers is dealing with the recession and its impact on its human resource policies and practices. That is the purpose of this study.