weakening economy

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More Gloom: Layoffs Hit 9-Month High

And the future is looking bleak, say economists

(Newser) - Layoffs have climbed to their highest level in nearly a year—1.78 million workers were handed pink slips in May, the most since August 2010—increasing ever-present fears about the US economy. The Wall Street Journal highlights the latest casualties: Cisco Systems plans to slash 6,500 jobs; Lockheed... More »

We Must Return to the Gold Standard

Our sagging economy proves that it's time to stop conjuring dollars

(Newser) - There was a time when money meant something, but now—as evidenced by the Federal Reserve’s “ plan to conjure $600 billion to support the sagging economy”—“dollars can be conjured.” In fact, writes James Grant in the New York Times , “in the digital age,... More »

Economy Curbs Holiday Travel

Americans stay home or scale back vacation plans

(Newser) - The weak economy is taking a toll on Americans' plans for holiday travel, forcing cash-strapped would-be vacationers to alter trips or abandon them altogether. A recent poll found that, of those who planned to travel more than 100 miles for the holidays, a third said they had been forced to... More »

NYC Firm Pays Lawyers for Not Going to Work

Cost-cutting measure gives employees $80K for taking a year off

(Newser) - Amid nationwide layoffs and salary freezes, how could a New York law firm justify paying some of its employees $80,000 to stay away from the office? It makes more sense when you know that the lawyers usually make three times that: The partners have found a way to cut... More »

Recession, Free Dating Sites Are Match Made in Heaven

Paid online dating sites see customers flooding to free upstarts

(Newser) - Traffic on free online dating sites has spiked, a trend fueled by the recession and by daters’ realization that finding love for free beats paying, reports BusinessWeek. “If it’s free, why would I go to Match?” asks a Florida woman who met her fiancé on PlentyofFish.com, which... More »

Cobblers in Stitches Thanks to Recession

Dwindling trade gets boost as Americans pinch pennies

(Newser) - If this recession reaches Great Depression levels, there may not be enough cobblers to go around. There are only 7,000 of them left in the US—down from 120,000 in the 1920s—and their business is piling up faster than they can manage as strapped Americans repair shoes... More »

Female Perspective Sorely Lacking at Davos

Gender equality slow to scale the Alps forum—and everyone's the worse for it

(Newser) - Women may be the ticket out of the global recession, but World Economic Forum leaders wouldn’t know it. The predominantly male organizers have invited few women—5% of announced attendees—to the exclusive Davos forum, a misstep for a meeting billed “Shaping the Post-Crisis World,” Morice Mendoza... More »

Worldwide Downturn Speeds Up Alarmingly

Analysts don't expect recovery in 2009

(Newser) - The global economy is in a faster decline than economists predicted only weeks ago, as the bursting of the biggest-ever real-estate bubble hits real economies in Europe and Asia, killing millions of jobs and shutting businesses, the Washington Post reports. Britain just posted its biggest quarterly slump since 1980, while... More »

79% Support Obama Stimulus Plan, Poll Says

And public places more confidence in him than in Congress

(Newser) - Most Americans favor Barack Obama's pricey antidotes for the economy, and they like him better than his pals in the legislative branch, Politico reports. A recent poll says 79% back Obama's fiscal plans, which include a $775 billion injection into infrastructure and alternative energy. The president-elect's favorable rating sits high... More »

Cubans Mark 50 Years of Fidel

Celebrations sobered after tough year for Cuba

(Newser) - New Year's Day marks a sober occasion for Cuban-Americans: Fidel Castro's takeover 50 years ago and the exile and family separations that ensued. Many Cubans once hoped the dictator would bring them prosperity. Today, with their beloved island in decay and many lives lost in attempts to flee, few of... More »

Pawn Shops Attract Upscale Clientele

(Newser) - Pawn shops are turning from the shady realm of the lower class to a place for rich people to get loans, the Wall Street Journal reports. The typical household income of a pawn shop customer is $29,000, but new middle- and upper-class clients are surging. One such client pawned... More »

Consumer Confidence Hits All-Time Low

Economists expected a rise this month after dreary November

(Newser) - US consumer confidence hit an all-time low this month, dropping unexpectedly in the face of layoffs and deteriorating investment markets. The Consumer Confidence Index, expected to rise incrementally to 45, fell to 38 in December from a revised 44.7 last month. The Present Situation index, which measures how respondents... More »

Youths Flee Struggling Iceland

Ailing economy forcing mass exodus

(Newser) - Iceland faces its largest exodus in a century as job seekers flee the ailing nation, which is steeped in its worst financial crisis since independence. One survey estimates about half of Icelanders between 18 and 24 plan are thinking about leaving the country for Norway and other relatively strong economies.... More »

Brits Turn to Sex for Cheap Thrills

Hard times encourage people to find inexpensive activities, poll finds

(Newser) - For those who can't afford to shop during the holidays, the British offer a suggestion: have sex instead. Love-making topped a list of increasingly popular cost-free activities, followed by window shopping and gossiping—which beat out sex among women—in a survey of 2,000 Brits. The findings coincide with... More »

Strapped Budgets Make for Better Gifts

Use a signature gift to cut costs, give meaningfully

(Newser) - Tight budgets are forcing Americans to skirt the season's traditional buying frenzy and make gifts that put "emphasis on people, not stuff," Melissa Magsaysay writes in the Los Angeles Times. She's creating "a creative signature gift" of Ugandan beads that she's turning into bracelets: The... More »

Unprepared Next Gen Faces 'Stone-Cold Scarcity'

Can young people used to prosperity handle scarcity?

(Newser) - Today marks a national sea change, the “end of an economic era, a political era, and a generational era,” writes David Brooks in the New York Times. “The baby boomers have been a politically undistinguished generation,” he writes, and now, “change is demanded." If... More »

British PM Adds Obama Clip in Bid to Boost Popularity

Brown faces revolt from within his ruling Labour party

(Newser) - Gordon Brown sought to capture some of Barack Obama’s political celebrity today, the AP reports, with the embattled British prime minister showing a gathering of his Labour Party old footage of the Illinois senator praising him. Brown faces a slumping economy, and elements within Labour would like to see... More »

Wall Street Meltdown Turns McCain Pro-Regulation

Republican backs off earlier enthusiasm for deregulation

(Newser) - With Wall Street in extremis, John McCain is backing away from a long history as an opponent of financial regulation, reports the Washington Post. The paper cites McCain's record in backing banking deregulation, including the 1999 legislation, sponsored by then-Sen. Phil Gramm, a McCain campaign adviser, that removed the Depression-era... More »

Recession Makes Us Healthier

Strapped budgets can help people improve habits

(Newser) - A slow economy might mean more people are stressed, but research shows that tough times are actually good for us, the Los Angeles Times reports. Rates of illnesses—particularly those related to lifestyle changes, like heart disease—decrease, as do accident and death rates. And while some may drown their... More »

European Unity Threatened by Economic Slowdown

Slowdown in Spain is representative of the EU's growing economic ills

(Newser) - Europe seems to be catching the economic malaise that has already affected the US, and the downturn is putting a damper on member nations' enthusiasm for the 15-year-old Economic Union, the Washington Post reports. Revised projections show European economies slowing down as much, if not more, than the US over... More »

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