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Jobs: How bad will it get?

January 9, 2009

The economy lost over half a million jobs in December and shed the greatest number of workers in 2008 since the end of World War II. The grim news didn’t stop there: the unemployment rate jumped to 7.2 percent, the highest in 16 years. Many analysts say it will only get worse before it gets better.

“The job situation is ugly and is going to get uglier. There’s no reason to expect hiring anytime in the next three to six months,” said Richard Yamarone, chief economist at Argus Research in New York. Tempus Consulting’s Matt Esteve agrees. “No matter how you look at it, those are dismal numbers,” he said.

How does all this make you feel about the nation’s economy and your own personal job and financial situation? More importantly, how is the economic environment making you change your behavior?

On the wider stage, do you think the dire unemployment picture will be President George W. Bush’s legacy and will it get better under President-elect Barack Obama?


I can sum it all up in two words. “Supply and demand”It’s that simple. I have a good car, television, computer, and house. I don’t need any more.Here is something to think about. What is going to happen to the houses when the baby boomers are too old to maintain? They will have to sell, thus more houses (supply) go up for sale.

Posted by Steven Midas | Report as abusive

In 6 months we will be reduced to wearing rags and cannibalizing each other. There will wars and rumours of wars and americans will be sold as slaves in exchange for oil. India, Venezuela and Jamaica will be the new superpowers.

Posted by james jones | Report as abusive

United States will colapse during the while of 2009 2010 2011 and so on, the growth expectatives are uncertainly

Posted by hilmedog | Report as abusive

Recovery? Should we try to recover back to where we started or transform to where we need to go? Mr. Steve was correct, many of already have the material things we need. The majority of need to ask ourselves what type of lifestyle do we really need and where do we truly need to be financially, geographically and physically to have an optimal life (i.e., productive, physically fit and spiritually sound. For those wishing to “recover”…buckle in for the 5-7 year plan. New technology, manufacturing and building are the ONLY thaings that can change unemployment dramatically. If the Detroit 3 don’t have adequate funding…what types of leading innovations can they possible deliver in 60 months? If the current citizens and international job nomads cannot unite and push our representatives for a massive overhaul of our infrastructure (i.e., coast to coast trains, bridges, civil engineering)…then only a massive world wide war can bring us out of this mess. Probably will start with Iran (Babylon)…our friends of oil for food.

Posted by CL Wilson | Report as abusive

We could help our situation if we thought of our ecenomy on a local level instead of constantly ringing our hands over the global catastrophe scenario that fills the media. I know that things are bad, my parents and siblings live in Michigan. If you need a book, go to a store in your town and buy one; if you need a shirt, go to a local store. Buy American, buy local. Our economy is up to us to a greater extent than we realize. The world is not coming to an end.

Posted by Matt Watson | Report as abusive

Painful total revamp of the world economy. I concur with Steve Midas. As a result of economic incentives in the last few years, many, including myself, have not the need for a new car, tv, computer or other big ticket “necessities”.We are burning wood from our land to heat our home, growing our own vegetables, raising chickens for eggs and meat. We are fixing old things that we used to throw out and replace.I telecommute to save on gas and arrange virtual meetings rather than personal, whenever possible.We are paying off our credit cards and not using them.We are embracing the challenge of spending as little as possible and helping others do the same via the barter system.We are blessed to have our health, good families and friends.Corporate spending end executive compensation makes me sick. Corporations will have to get back to square one and forget all the hype to be viable. Wall Street needs to be fumigated of hype.The fallout has just begun and compounding losses will be seen for the next several years. It took several years to get here … we never really recovered from the dot com bubble burst … we masked it by going to war to stimulate our economy and making credit available for everyone for everything. Where did all the money go? Where did the 700billion stimulus go?I shudder to think that my children will pay the price for all this.

Posted by Wildcat | Report as abusive

will not be sold into slavery GMT,you may.Be ready always ready. Pay attention and you wont fail

Posted by flandy | Report as abusive

Depends on who you ask I believe. In the eye’s of the general public I’d say they would see it as G. W. Bush’s fault. Obama just took office and can’t be responsible for the losses stemming from Bush’s time in office so he has to be the “hope”. To me personally, I believe that the largest reason for job loss in America is due to our affiliation with global organizations such as the WTO, NAFTA, and the federal reserve and their affiliation with our congress and foreign governments. And I seem to associate those trade agreements with Clinton. Of course Bush SR. tried to get it through on his watch but Congress wouldn’t have it then. The republican tried but the Democrat got it through. No matter where you trace these things back to they always lead to a two party fight for the same solution. To me Bush, Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, Byrd, McCain, …..etc… equals the same thing. A Demublican party. Of course, perhaps they are all good shepherds watching over us and we just cannot handle the truth of why they have to do the things they do that cause us such woe’s. Perhaps we could put another tax on cigarettes, homes and ammunition and give my unemployed countrymen and women some new government job preparing them for the next generation of internet security help desk procedures for the new generation of X-phone national security plasma time warp generator solar collector com link devices with surround sound MP10 players and a 2.5″ flat screen HD media viewer that is MauveTooth wireless capable and World Of Warcraft ready. Oh now, one has to see it with some humor! We do keep electing these people somehow.

Posted by jason | Report as abusive

Jason, rather than Demubican party how about the Repocrat party, because Repo is exactly what these guys are going to do to the US public and they are all going to agree on it together whilst retaining each and every one of their Senate/Congressional perks and benefits.

Posted by nick | Report as abusive

How do I feel about the nation’s economy? It is very dire and not enjoyable at all to listen to on the radio anymore. I find my best days are when I keep the radio off and listen to classical music while concoting my job search.My personal economy/finances? The current real estate crash has dramatically affected by life 24/7. My one and only property on the market needs to sell, for the right price of course, and I will be alright for a few months; then what?Fortunately, I have always been relatively frugal and am now moreso. I have decided to reduce my utility bills. My water bill is about $10/month (by taking 2 minute showers and making a game of it), and keeping my heat down to 62, while wearing two layers of long-underwear, which help immensely.There are ways to reduce use of everything if you really think about it and focus. Having fun with these changes helps. I no longer drive anywhere unless necessary and instead go for another walk if I need to get the world’s woes out of my head. Also, I have pretty much eliminated tortilla chips and chocolate (two favs) unless they are on sale and then I only buy a little and savor each bite.Also, I have changed my diet to a bean and grain based diet, buying in bulk – steel cut oats, barley, brown rice, and beans. Not only do I feel better but think about those around the world in AFrica, India, Asia, and South America who go to bed hungry each night, and some of these people, particularly in AFrica (Darfur, Congo) are suffering horrors beyond words and are starving too!So, while the economic crisis is looming all around, I do what I can in my own daily life to stay sane (1990 car, no TV, wear the bsame clothes I’ve had for years, changed diet, enjoys more walks, etc.. This all really helps keep a positive outlook while job hunting too!Bush’s legacy – pitiful, dishonest, selfish, immature, fearful of others, a bully, a whine in his voice – thoroughly short-sighted, a disgrace to the U.S. and to the world.Obama – hopefully the economy will improve with Obama but it will take many years to move out of this all-round quicksand and get on stable ground. Here’s hoping Obama will stay honest and straightforward with us.Cheers World!

Posted by renee USA | Report as abusive

Again and again in these blogs, I hear words of truth about the state of American politics, with the two parties dancing together much like the pigs and the farmer at the end of Animal Farm. If there are so many of you out there, what in the world happened on election day? How did hundreds of millions of people get so excited to stand in line for the opportunity to vote for one of these guys?In 2012, when I finally get the nerve to quit my job and run for the presidency (unlike the Senate, my employer would never tolerate a campaign on the clock), will you vote for me, even as I chastise you for allowing these people to gain so much power?

Posted by Russ in PA | Report as abusive

Well..time to weight in…I have been unemployed for three months now…previously my longest job search was 5 days…so I am a bit spoiled.Here is the thing though…I have more experience than I used to in my field…and I haven’t gotten one single call back or F.O. letter…and honestly that is more worrying than anything else.There are jobs out there (they are in other states than my home state) but I am looking at EVERYTHING…blanketing the whole southern US and still nothing but silence. Here is what I can’t reconcile…maybe I am from a depressed area…but WAY more people that I know have been laid off than the reported 7.5%…is it just me or does it seem more like 25 to 30% of working age people are out of a job?Not only that and as a struggling 30ish person, I hear that a lot of retired people are back in the market since their 401K and investments tanked…I’m thinking right about now, I DON’T NEED ANY MORE COMPETITION for the meager jobs that exist…I have 3 more months of unemployment left…I haven’t gotten a single call back…what am I going to do when those three months are up?

Posted by Kiki | Report as abusive

Kiki, you do not wait for a response from a prospective employer, you continue to contact them. If you only have an email address, continue emailing. Be politely aggressive and assertive. Since so many people are out of work and more will be unemployed in 2009, you must do everything to get out physically and meet potential employers; sitting at home at the internet is not the same as meeting someone face to face. Even though you are looking in the Southern U.S., you can still network with people in your own city; they might have contacts elsewhere. Have you lined up informational interviews?I’m sure you have heard about networking. In 2001, when I was downsized unexpectantly (the day before Sept. 11th), a fellow downsized employee told me about a networking/write-your-resume-type-group, which was taught, free of charge, at a local church (this was not a religious thing). Well, each week we brought in our stories and a headcount of whom we contacted…for an “informational” interview, not a job, per se. This is “networking,” which frankly, I was unfamiliar with until then! I bumped into a former neighbor, told her I was looking for work, and low and behold, her office had an opening for a job (transcriptionist) which I applied for and accepted as an independent contractor (after a 5-month trial period at the office).Long story short, tell everyone you meet what it is you are looking for. You do not have to have the same job as before. Flexibility and adaptability are key in this insane market. I took the job as a transcriptionist because I needed income immediately as my unemployment ran out and temping didn’t pay enough, which I had tried. As an independent contractor, I negotiated my own (great) rate, worked from home, and the job lasted 2 1/2 years! Ironically, I am not a typist at all! The office did not even ask if I could type or if I liked it; I simply went in, sat down and started typing. Thank God for spellcheck and for the networking group! By the way, this job was not advertised.One more thing, read your resume as a prospective employer would. What are they really reading? Did you tailor your resume to that specific job opening? And your cover letter too?I have been downsized twice without any notice. It is not fun. Until recently, I had a career in real estate and we all know the real estate market in the U.S. So, yet again, I have revamped my resume, and, am willing to take a position I may not really like, but being unemployed in real estate for over a year now, is not economically feasible to wait for the dreamjob. The very good thing about real estate is that I like to meet a variety of people and have been continually complimented on my ability to interact with many different people. It has also given me the skill to introduce myself to anyone with confidence. This is adaptability. I have rewritten this attribute in my cover letter and just received my first response back for an interview, after 6 months of no responses!Network everyone! Consistent follow-through. Rewrite your resume/cover letters. I also wrote “Immediate Hire” at the very end of my resume in the summary section and in the same location on my cover letters.Work it! Work it! Work it!

Posted by renee USA | Report as abusive

I have been out of work since August, 2006. All I can say is be positive about your situation and Volunteer your time. Also, consider the Peace Corps as an option.


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