Community Conditions and Employment Insecurity in the United States

Sarah A. Burgard, University of Michigan

Despite prominent arguments suggesting that aspirations and expectations for labor market opportunities are influenced by community context, sociologists have not examined whether community conditions influence adult residents’ perceived employment insecurity. I study the predictors of perceived likelihood of losing a job and perceived ability to find another job among employed individuals, as well as examining the predictors of currently looking for work, among a large and diverse sample of residents of Chicago neighborhoods. I estimate multilevel models to assess the contribution of neighborhood structural and social conditions, as well as more commonly studied individual characteristics. Net of an extensive array of individual and job characteristics, local unemployment rates, community social cohesion, the percentage of African American residents and a concentration of immigrant residents all show independent associations with measures of employment insecurity, though these associations often depend on individual respondents’ race/ethnic or immigrant status or on their educational attainment.

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Presented in Poster Session 1