Recessionwire readers *may* have noticed that we haven’t updated the site for a while. It’s true—we’ve turned our focus to other projects. But there’s still plenty of useful information to be had at RW. Here are some of our most popular resources…

It’s been three years of some rough stuff, but Americans are starting to report that when they’ve changed jobs, it’s been for something better paying or a higher-level position, according to a report from Experian Simmons.

According to the research firm, 6.5% of those who changed jobs in the last year moved into a better spot. No, it’s not much, but it turns out that moving up has never been something experienced by the majority of the population. In January 2008, when the economy was still mostly strong (the official start of the recession came in December 2007, but took months to ripple through the general economy), 9.9% of Americans said they had moved into better jobs in the previous year. The latest figure is also up significantly from April’s 4.6%.

Some further “good” news, that just 2.4% of Americans who switched jobs in the last year moved into lower level or lower paying positions. Bright side.

We’re not jumping up and down about any sort of real recovery yet, and the current unemployment and new-jobs numbers (9.8%; a mere 39,000 new jobs) indicate a seriously bleak backdrop. Which lends a sort of cognitive dissonance to Experian’s claim that slightly more Americans are starting to look hopeful about job opportunities (8.2% compared to 6.6% in July). But let’s take the good news where we can.

Call me a Grinch, but the holidays are never more daunting than when you’re sitting down to make your shopping list for friends and family. After so many years, you’ve probably cycled through the same items many times over (I know I have!). So here are some ideas and commentary from the folks at Cardpool.com who suggest they’re for “lazy gift-givers.” I sure hope my family isn’t reading this, but I probably fall into that category. Hope you find this as helpful as I did, and if you’ve got additional please add to the list in the comments below. Happy holidays!

1. Cardpool.com

Gift cards. That are up to 30% discounted. What’s not to love? That means you can buy the people on your “nice” list cards for some of the top retailers, restaurants, movie theaters and even airlines without breaking the bank.

2. Whatever of the Month Clubs

For everyone on your list, there’s a gift of the month club – bacon of the month, beer of the month, jam of the month (for the Christmas Vacation fans out there) – get your creative juices flowing. Murray’s in New York even has a meat of the month club delivered nationwide – a gift that keeps giving year round.

3. Netflix / Hulu

Who doesn’t love movies? Purchase a gift certificate for Hulu Premium so your gift recipient can stream the newest shows without all the ads.

4. Shutterfly.com

You can use your own photos to print out aprons, coasters, mugs, key chains, etc. This is one of those gifts that will make you look like you really gave it the personal touch. Just upload a photo on a site and let it do all the hard work.

5. Spafinder.com

Spafinder takes the spa gift certificate to the next level. Let your recipient pick out the spa and the treatment without putting your bank account in the red.

Those of you who are experiencing funemployment and traveling on the cheap may be interested in a deal that HostelBookers is promoting this season. It’s offering big discounts on already crazy cheap hostels in warm-weather locations like Miami, Lima, and Cancun. Discounts start at 20% and…

Where does poverty live? In the U.S., we think of it existing in rundown rural trailer parks or dangerous inner city neighborhoods. Today Zachary Roth digs into the the rise in suburban poverty brought on by the recession. More poor Americans now live in the suburbs than in cities. That may especially be a problem because “many suburbs may not be as well set up as urban areas are to provide much-needed social services,” he says.

Heading into a yoga class in Miami last week, I met a woman who was also from New York. Like most of us, she walked fast and talked fast. But even for a New Yorker she seemed a little…on edge.

She worried aloud about whether she was experienced enough for the class, worried about where she was going to go next, worried about the apartment she’d bought in a neighborhood she didn’t like.

During our conversation it emerged that she’d lost her job a couple of years ago and was still unemployed. I sensed that her jobless state didn’t cause her sprawling anxiety, but it did seem possible that it was part of a dreadful spiral—unemployment feeding unhappiness, making it harder to find a job, which caused more unhappiness…

One of the upsides of the recession is that it cut back on the amount of unnecessary spending in America. We were shelling out too much for clothes, appliances, video games, cosmetics, car accessories—you name it. And then we were spending on stuff to store all the stuff we’d bought but didn’t have a place for.

But all that stuff, ironically, has been a boon in the recession, argues Virginia Postrel in an interesting Wall Street Journal story this weekend. When we had to cut back on spending, we could turn to our personal storehouses of tee shirts and tube socks…

Miami has a lot going for it–sun, Art Deco style and carb-loaded Cuban food. But just try finding work there.

A new report from job search engine Juju.com ranks the job search difficulty in 50 US cities. Washington DC is the locale where you’re most likely to score a gig–it has 1.18 unemployed people per advertised job opening. Miami, meanwhile, comes in at the bottom of the batch. For every job ad, there are more than nine people looking for work. Check out the rest of the rankings…

99er n./ a person who has gone through all 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.

This is one of the sadder definitions in our recession glossary. According to a story in the New York Times several days ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by June, 1.4 million people had been out of work for at least 99 weeks–the maximum time you can collect unemployment, even with all the extensions that Congress has tacked on to give people more of a safety net in tough times.

Let’s put that a different way: A population almost the size of Philadelphia has been out of work for nearly two years

Free Financial Bootcamp

by Sara Clemence on August 2, 2010 in Money

Since 2009, LearnVest has been providing sharp and seriously useful money advice for women. Now, the site has launched a series of email bootcamps to get readers ramped up financially. The investing unit costs $7.99, but the Cut Your Costs and Personal Finance Basics …