I believe it really depends on the situation a particular person is in at the time of firing, but if they are let go due to downsizing, they at least qualify for unemployment benefits, which are generally hard to get. The downfall to this is the fact that they may not be able to find a job that pays as well or is in the same industry. This could essentially send them back to fast food service or retail jobs which a majority of the population is stuck in.
When a company fires employees due to downsizing the company, that typically means that the company is not doing so well and cannot afford as many employees as they have and need to make budget cuts. If a company fires an employee because of this, I think ultimately the employee is better off finding another company to work for that doesn't need to fire their employees for downsizing.
An employee is worse off when they are fired because of a company downsizing, because losing a job is usually not a good thing. If the person thought their life would be better without the job in the first place, they probably would not have been working there. People are dependent on their jobs and losing your job is a big deal. It is sad.
When a company is downsizing and is forced to let someone go, it creates a very negative situation in that persons life. They will now need to find other work and ways to make money on a very short notice. This can be very stressful and harmful to a persons life.
An employee is worse off when fired because of company downsizing. It is better for the employee to be laid off versus getting fired. If you are fired, that usually means it was due to job performance and you can not get rehired. If you are laid off, that is usually due to no performance issues and the employee can get unemployment and if the company wants to they will rehire the individual in the future.