The first aspect is that job destruction - and therefore job insecurity - is an inherent feature of capitalism, because creative destruction is an engine of growth, and because workers are vulnerable to the whims of bosses. This is true in normal times as well as downturns, so for this reason, this survey is no evidence whatsoever of an impending economic downturn. (We‘ll probably get one, but this survey ain't evidence).
This paper shows that even in years of steady aggregate growth, around one-in-seven private sector jobs are destroyed - 51,000 a week. The destruction rate is slightly higher in services than manufacturing. Although this destruction is more than matched in normal times by job creation, we do get a trace of this turnover in the macroeconomic data. Table 10 of this pdf shows that, in the last 12 months more than 200,000 have joined the claimant count every month. Over a year, this is equivalent to one in 11 workers - though of course, not all people who join the count do so because they lose their jobs, nor do all those who lose their jobs join the count.
Job insecurity, then, is a separate issue from the issue of macroeconomic fluctuations. The solution to it, therefore, is not macroeconomic stabilization but better insurance mechanisms. On this point, Robert E. Lucas was explicit in this classic little book:
Instead, I suspect a number of cognitive biases stop people realising how vulnerable their individual jobs are: the optimism bias (“bad things don’t happen to me”); the illusion of control (“if I work hard, they won’t sack me); and the just world illusion (“they can’t sack me; I’m good at my job“).
These biases have pernicious effects. In causing people to under-estimate their vulnerability to the vicissitudes of capitalism, they cause them to support the system more than they should and to neglect potential ways of improving it - for example, better insurance methods or means of reducing bosses’ control over the workplace.
It’s insufficiently appreciated that the research into cognitive biases puts Marxist theories of ideology onto a stronger foundation. And this ideology can obstruct support for improving our economic institutions. This is a bigger problem than a merely temporary recession.