News

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.

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.

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

From today’s New York Times:

Many economists — concerned about the sluggish pace of job creation, dwindling housing activity and decelerating retail sales — say that slowdown is continuing this summer and have recently downgraded their expectations for the second half of the year.

Read more here.

Apparently, some people are still concerned about the stability of U.S. banks. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, cable titan John Malone, for one, noted that his wife had pulled all of her money out of American financial institutions and parked it in Australia and Canada.

“She wants to have a place to go if things blow up here,” he told the paper in an interview. “Canada has a lot more fiscal and bank responsibility than most places in the world and lots of natural resources. We have a retreat that’s right on the Quebec border. We own 18 miles on the border, so we can cross. Any time we want to, we can get away. It would probably be illegal, but we could go. Actually, our snowmobile trail goes right on the border.”

So far this year, the FDIC has seized about 100 banks. Maybe she’s on to something.

If you care about this issue, you’ve probably heard that the US Senate voted 60-40 to keep emergency unemployment benefits going. Long story short: Good for jobless peeps, bad for the deficit.

Millions of people stopped getting checks in June when the program expired in June. According to the Washington Post: 8.7 million people were receiving jobless benefits at the end of June. A little more than half received state benefits, which are typically available for 26 weeks. The rest were receiving extended benefits financed by the federal government, which are due to run out soon unless the bill before the Senate passes. The Labor Department estimates that 2.5 million people had been cut off by the end of last week.

The House is expected to okay the bill this week…

Start-up activity, which got a boost from the recession as millions of people looked for new work opportunities or rethought their careers, is on the slide. According to a new survey by executive outplacement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas, 3.7 percent of job seekers were looking to start something up in the first half of 2010. That’s a big drop from the 7.6 percent in the first half of 2009. That’s a low point since 1986, when the company began tracking this stuff.

What gives? It could be that more people are getting jobs and…

Two major companies announced major changes today. San Francisco bank Wells Fargo is eliminating 3,800 jobs as part of a “restructuring”–a small number compared to the 278,000 who work for the company, but big for the people who will lose jobs. More than 638 independent consumer finance offices will be closed.

Meanwhile, pharma firm Merck is closing eight plans and eight research sites, including two outposts in the US. It’s canning a whopping 16,000…

From a Sunday New York Times story on how the economic recovery has slowed down in the U.S.:

“We may have seen the best of employment for some time,” said Paul Kasriel, chief economist at Northern Trust. “In general the economy is downshifting, maybe to stall speed, or just above stall.”

Ugh.