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People across the working spectrum suffered job losses in recent years: bricklayers and bookkeepers as well as workers in manufacturing and marketing.
But only a select few workers have fully regained their footing during the slow recovery.
Katie O’Brien Mowery is one of the lucky ones. After losing her job in the marketing department of a luxury resort in Santa Barbara, Calif., in early 2010, she eventually found a position with better benefits and the promise of a brighter future.
“I wished that it happened sooner than it did,” said Ms. Mowery, who is in her mid-30s, referring to her nearly yearlong job search. “But looking back, my new position wouldn’t have been available when I was laid off, and now I’m very happy.”
Even though the Labor Department is expected to report on Friday that employers added more than 100,000 jobs in November, a new study shows just how rare people like Ms. Mowery are. According to the study, to be released Friday by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers, just 7 percent of those who lost jobs after the financial crisis have returned to or exceeded their previous financial position and maintained their lifestyles.
The vast majority say they have diminished lifestyles, and about 15 percent say the reduction in their incomes has been drastic and will probably be permanent.
Bill Loftis is one of the unfortunate ones. He is without a college degree or specialized skills and also worked in an industry, manufacturing, that has added back only about 13 percent of the jobs that it lost during the recession.
After 22 years on the job, Mr. Loftis, 44, was laid off from a company that produces air filters and valves in Sterling Heights, Mich., three years ago. Managers “looked me dead in the eye,” he recalled, “and said, ‘We’re laying...