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Recession Forcing Many Laid Off Workers Into Dangerous or Dirty Jobs

August 12, 2009 01:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
As the recession presses onward, laid off workers with limited options have taken jobs they never would have considered before.

Ripple Effects of Unemployment

Out of work for months, many jobless people are desperate for a paycheck, Associated Press writer Christopher Leonard reports. As a result, many are taking jobs "they once considered unthinkable," in slaughterhouses and prisons, for example.

"People have to pay the bills, so what we see is people kind of grasping at straws and taking anything that's available," Matthew Freedman, assistant professor of labor economics at Cornell University, told Leonard.

The unemployed masses have had a ripple effect on the entire labor force, Leonard suggests. As "skilled and educated workers" resort to jobs as secretaries or restaurant servers, the unskilled workers—including high school graduates and immigrants, who would have filled such positions in the past—now have fewer options.

According to Leonard, the "intensified competition has hurt all workers—even those who are still employed—because it shrinks wages."

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