Survey: Job loss would quickly lead to hardship for many in U.S.

Gallup’s annual Economy and Personal Finance poll, conducted April 3-6, finds 26% of workers saying they could go without a job for up to four months, while about one-third of workers could get by for up to a year or more.

These perceptions have been fairly stable over time, including before the recent economic downturn.

One reason many American workers may not be prepared financially for a job loss is they think it is unlikely to happen to them. Sixteen percent of workers say they are “very” (5%) or “fairly” (11%) likely to lose their job in the next 12 months. That percentage is down from a peak of 21% in 2010, a year of high unemployment, but has averaged 14% since Gallup first asked the question in 1975.