Poor Us: The Great Depression 2.0

May 18, 2009

Interactive Misery Map: Watch US jobs disappear before your eyes

June 2007June 2008 March 2009

A lot of people are unemployed, even 24-hour cable news anchors tell us that much; and we can turn to the internet to fill us in on the multi-million dollar Wall Street paydays that remain a fact of life. Still, while we’re told things are getting better, everyday people continue to tell stories of hardship. So how can we get a handle on the impact the recession is having on the nation? Slate’s recently updated interactive map of job loss across the country did the trick for me. The trio of images above provide national snapshots of employment –blue for job growth, red for job loss– in June 2007, June 2008 and March 2009 (updated last week using the latest figures ). For the record, the number of jobless claims — those drawn by workers collecting benefits for more than one week — rose 202,000 in the week ended May 2 to 6,560,000, the highest level since the government started keeping track in 1967.

When Did Your County’s Jobs Disappear?An interactive map of vanishing employment across the country, updated with the latest figures.
By Chris Wilson

The economic crisis, which has claimed more than 5 million jobs since the recession began, did not strike the entire country at once. A map of employment gains or losses by county tells the story of how those job losses first struck in the most vulnerable regions and then spread rapidly to the rest of the country. As early as August 2007, for example—several months before the recession officially began—jobs were already on the decline in southwest Florida; Orange County, Calif.; much of New Jersey; and Detroit, while other areas of the country remained on the uptick. Updated Thursday, May 14, 2009 The Slate map uses the Labor Department’s local area unemployment statistics for each county in America. Because the data are not seasonally adjusted for natural employment cycles throughout the year, the numbers you see show the change in the number of people employed compared with the same month in the previous year. Blue dots represent a net increase in jobs, while red dots indicate a decrease. The larger the dot, the greater the number of jobs gained or lost. Click the arrows or calendar at the bottom to see each month of data. Click the green play button to see an animation of the data.

h/t Creditslips

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April 15, 2009

Ways the Economy Will Change Poor Us? #1 Rise of Gen Millennial Clans

WALTZ_FARM Earlier I posted about the The Christian Science Monitor’s 10 Ways the Economy Will Be Different, an article that offered reasonable assumptions about how the crash will change our economic future and how we’ll adapt.

Personally, I have seen no evidence that we can be level-headed in financial matters given that not long ago the median home price in this area was $1million but people kept buying based on the belief that home values always rise. With that level of credulity mixed with wishful thinking, I feel sure our economic Tomorrowland will be far more unpredictable, fractious and changed than the penny-pinching, EBay shopping reality of the CSM’s list of ten.

How far will the paradigm shift? So far, the Poor Us Economic Outlook is a list of one.  It will grow as I find surmises as good as this one from Adam Nathaniel Mayer’s NewGeography blog post, The Millennials First Recession. As a member of the 20ish Millennial generation, Mayer and many members of his cohort are fresh out of college and have already lost their first jobs.  They’re finding it difficult to find new jobs given that the Baby Boomers (Millennials


March 30, 2009

Journalists Now Pounding Jobless Beat

Filed under: Reduced Circumstances — Tags: , , , — debacled @ 2:18 am

Starving_Artist_by_GrayDayAs a journalist who’s looking for work at a time when the newspaper business is in its death throes, I get up each day and wonder how the hell I’m going to find a job.

According to  the American Journalism Review,  about 15,000 other journalists  are asking themselves the same question.

The story offers some bad new:

“For those laid off between 1999 and 2007 who responded to the questionnaire, journalists who needed more than a year to find a job averaged 51 years old. Those who found work in less than three months averaged 46.”

And hope:

Patrick O’Driscoll and Mike Peluso took another popular escape route. They went into media relations. Both are happier men for it, and not because they’re making a pile of money. They were both better paid in their newspaper jobs….O’Driscoll says he has learned this overarching lesson: “Second and third acts can start in your mid-50s.

This story asks the question, “So what do you do now?” that should resonate with journalists or anyone who thought they’d found their life’s work, and are now finding their “Calling” has been rescinded.

Via Renegade Futurist

Is There Life After Journalism?
American Journalism Review, March/April 2009

Many of the respondents have found new jobs. It’s too early to tell about those who lost their jobs within the past year, but for those who did so between 1999 and 2007:

• Just under 36 percent said they found a new job in less than three months. Add those who say they freelance full time, and the total jumps to 53 percent.

• Less than 10 percent say it took them longer than a year.

• Only a handful – 6 percent – found other newspaper jobs. The rest are doing everything from public relations to teaching to driving a bus and clerking in a liquor store.


March 10, 2009

Precarity: The Art of Living Dangerously Close to the Edge

Filed under: Uncategorized, Wise up — Tags: , , , — debacled @ 10:46 pm

The news is bad: “In addition to the 651,000 lost jobs in February, the government increased its estimate of the number of jobs lost in January to 655,000 (up from 598,000), while December’s was bumped to 681,000 (up from 577,000),” the Dallas News reported Friday. “It’s the highest national unemployment rate since December 1983. The number of job losses in February was the highest for one month since October 1949 – except, of course, for December 2008 and January 2009.”

And it’s making us stupid(er)–although given the self-inflicted lameness of our plight, it’s almost impossible to imagine we’ll be dumber still before this is all over, but that’s the Dallas interpretation:

“People who concentrate on all the news work themselves up emotionally and become much, much more likely to make unwise decisions” like selling investments at a big loss, said Daniel Howard, a marketing professor and consumer behavior specialist at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.”

What’s clearly needed is an alternative method for finding answer to our pressing questions such as this a new age take on the Old World tradition Tarocchi di Precariomanzia or the Tarot of the Precaromancy.  Produced in Italy for May Day 2007,  the cards were designed to address the precarious situation the working man finds himself in these days. “We are precarious because our choices are limited by the blackmail of the companies, coming by the day with new and surprising shapes: the housing issue, the income lack, the job torture, the self-awareness of our body and soul, our educational system, the possibility to learn and share knowledges and technologies,” the precaria.org authors explain. “The precarity tarots are a symbol to be interpreted so as to read the reality around us. They do not think they can actually foretell the future. The 22 Major Arcana represent desires, ambitions, or needs of our present, of our past, or our future.”

XV The Bank

The Bank is money. The world lives by exchanges, and to have money to exchange for goods, you must work. Food, the Estate, the present for one’s daughter, everything is touched by the hands, the moods and the sympathies of the Bank. It is the necessary evil one has to come to terms with to survive and struggle. It stands for the interested help, for the lack of scruples, for the price of everything, for that which one has to give up in order to be able to get, with no certainty of what one will be able to get at all. The Bank could profit from the fall of the Towers and squeeze money out of the Intern. It is a negative tarot, even if some other tarot could lessen its ill portent. Opening the game, the Bank stands for an initial disadvantage and a bank account below zero. Closing the game stands for the debt with one’s destiny.

For more on the notion of precarity, read Bruce Sterling’s The True 21st Century Begins: “Precarity is, of course, the condition of existing precariously. The condition of losing one’s safety and security, of losing predictability and the ability to rationally plan ahead, the condition of being humiliated and in danger.”

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