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What I mean by "Your Observations" is what is happening around you. Friends/family losing jobs, local retail business going out of business, cannot get a car loan or mortgage, etc. The news stations are not always the best source, so I am looking for some more grassroots reporting.

Retail: Around me, Home Depot is much slower. A year ago it took 20 minutes to checkout on weekend. Now it takes 2 minutes. I almost never go shopping but this weekend my wife dragged me to a large outlet center in central NJ. Prices were slashed big time and sales were around 60% at a lot of stores. There were definitely bargains to be had. There were a couple of stores going out of business. As for the crowds, it was packed especially at the stores going out of business. I waited in line for 25+ minutes behind some lady who never heard of soap!

Jobs: I have a unique perspective on the job outlook. My background is in human resources, specifically recruiting and hiring. In the 12 years I have been in the industry I have never seen it this bad. Some of my contacts in the field are saying it is the worst in 30 years. During the last recession there were a areas steadily hiring and not laying off. Today even the areas that are doing minimal hiring are having layoffs, restructuring, etc. I have family, friends and neighbors all losing jobs. The economy is the main topic of everyone conversations. People who normally never gave the economy a second thought are talking about it.

Loans, mortgages, etc. My neighbor's daughter was able to get a mortgage this week. I have no idea what the rate was or what her credit rating is. Both her and her husband have stable local government jobs. I did hear that mortgage rates are as high as 11% depending on your rating but I have not been able to verify that.
 

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Say no to NWO PLEASE!
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Lines at local supermarket that I frequent have been getting longer. Monday at 10am, in line for 20 minutes. Friend on friday at 8am waited in line for 15 minutes. Morning are usually slow there. Many carts were jam packed full.

More people coming around to the prepping way of thinking.
 

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To the Liberty Tree!
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I am in MA and have not had any friends or family lose jobs yet. I do not know of a single person who is even trying to get a loan. Here people are just buckling down. I have been to a variety of different store lately and for the most part they are dead... ghost towns. I went to Bed Bath and Beyond last week and I was the ONLY person in the store! I had to return something two day later and there was only 1 other person in the store. Target had a handful of people there but no one was loading up their carts, just a few sparse purchases. Bj's has been pretty quite too. So, overall my impression is that consumer spending is definitely down in Massachusetts.
 

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My job was "eliminated" in December and I have been looking for work since January 1. Nothing. I can't even get Wal-Mart to call me in -- maybe I'm over-qualified. Things are really tight here. My landlord's daughter is relocating from Minnesota to Colorado for her husband's job and their loan has been put on hold. He is supposed to start November 1, but they have no place to live.
 

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Mother of One.
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Not a lot is different in rural New Mexico. We're pretty shielded out here.

Jobs: It's fall, so there generally aren't a lot of jobs available. Summer hires have already been gotten rid of or been assimilated into full fledged employees, yet there's still a decent number of jobs in the paper.

Essentials: Prices tend to be the thing that affect people the most. Everyone is very mad about the latest electric bill hike, and it was on the news last week (or the week before?) that we'll get another one next year. Food prices are steadily rising too, and there's a lot of grumbling about increases specifically in the basics.

Money: The upper crust of society has been diversifying their accounts, and urging others to do the same. The lower crust of society has been pawning things so fast the shops around here are full up.

Sheep: Mostly everyone is pretty clueless about what's actually going on. A co-worker asked 3 or 4 of us in the office to explain what the bailout was all about and she still didn't get it, because they "wouldn't do it if it wasn't going to help." Most are going about life as usual though, if just a little hacked off that they can't be as extravagant as they want.

Going out: There's really not a lot to do here. A lot of people tend to go out to eat as something to do. Driving in the evenings to the grocery store twice a week, I haven't seen hardly a soul at the usual "hangouts." Also, I hardly know anyone that went to the fair this past week, and that's usually a huge deal around here. I also know a few high rollers that are looking to sell their theatre tickets.
 

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I was late on a car payment and the bank freaked out. That blew what's left of my mind.

I live just north of Detroit and the job/unemployment situation is truly abysmal.

I cannot speak about things in my workplace, as I work for the government and in a technical endeavor, but we are short one electrician, with little expectation that a replacement will be hired.
 

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Looking ahead
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Some shops have changed ownership or gone under and yet that hasn't stopped the continual build up of more strip malls :xeye:. There are plenty of empty buildings of various sizes and locations that remain vacant and yet a new building is built within a mile of it :confused:.

Sales are getting better. I got a coupon in the mail the other day that had the highest discount % I ever gotten from this store (its a random % off amount), my mother who also shops there said she got the same amount off. Cars are very cheap but food is creeping up. DVD's keep dropping in price too.

My job is secure so I don't check the help wanted section.

One strange thing noticed is that store brands and selection have been changing. For example I used to get fig newton knockoffs from Acme. They don't carry them anymore nor do they have many other items from that brand. Instead another generic brand has popped up which is priced higher and doesn't compare to the stuff I was buying.

My states largest job market is in banking so when that goes things will get ugly real fast. For now everything looks routine.
 

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Knocked Down But Up Again
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I work in a supermarket. Yesterday the lines were lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng! I am changing prices every week on things that shouldn't be going up so quickly. Of all things, mops and brooms went up an average of $4 to $5 each, if you can believe that! I can understand a modest increase, but a price hike of that proportion is alarming! And that's just on mops and brooms. Food is going out of sight, at least here in Central Massachusetts.

Also, for the first time in a very long time I am not on the work schedule this upcoming weekend. Was it an oversight on management's part, or is my neighborhood store looking to shave some serious labor costs? I would have asked, but I need this weekend off anyway. Maybe there'll be more work-free weekends like this in my near future for all of us. :/

Claudia
 

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Another thing I forgot was that my local 24 hour supermarket now closes at 1am and reopens at 6am. Possibly saving power and labor costs durring slow times.
 

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I live in Mississippi and my husband works in Memphis, Tn, he is a crain oper. on the river and his work has really slowed down over the past few weeks.
In Collierville, Tn, about 10 miles from my house, the 400 workers at Sewer Plastic were told last week that the plant is closing down in Dec.
Today on the news, they were talking about Desota county, Mississippi and how it is been hit hard.
People here are with out work, losing there homes because they can't pay they house notes,I know of some families who are moving in together.
 

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If everyone keeps going to the stores to buy supplies that will at least assist with the whole bailout. So I do hope everyone keeps going out to spend more $$.

Living in the DC area I do not konw of anyone who lost their job or anyone doing bad that did not put themslevs in that spot. Stores are still busy in this area.
 

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Sales at the company I work for are off 60%. We're a seasonal business, and if sales keep up likes they are now, the Christmas season will be abysmal. In May we laid off 1/3 of our people. If this keeps up, we're likely to see another 1/3 go after Christmas.
 

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To the Liberty Tree!
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I work in a supermarket. Yesterday the lines were lonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng! I am changing prices every week on things that shouldn't be going up so quickly. Of all things, mops and brooms went up an average of $4 to $5 each, if you can believe that! I can understand a modest increase, but a price hike of that proportion is alarming! And that's just on mops and brooms. Food is going out of sight, at least here in Central Massachusetts.

Also, for the first time in a very long time I am not on the work schedule this upcoming weekend. Was it an oversight on management's part, or is my neighborhood store looking to shave some serious labor costs? I would have asked, but I need this weekend off anyway. Maybe there'll be more work-free weekends like this in my near future for all of us. :/

Claudia
LOL!!! So, it's all YOUR fault! I had to buy a new mop head today and it was $9!!! For a little piece of sponge with some metal on the back!!! :eek:
 

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I work four jobs (in addition to graduate school). Three of those jobs are single-day a week situations, and my "bread and butter" is a funded research assistant position. I took the other jobs to save up some extra cash, and hedge out the slim possibility of losing my funding. Of my side jobs, two are in the food service industry. Strangely, this weekend was incredibly busy. I think that folks are going out to eat for comfort reasons. Immediately following 9/11, the food service industry got a huge boost, as people comforted themselves in the manner most befitting Americans.

Around my area, we're seeing a decline in the proverbial fat. Car dealerships, especially those that over-expanded their lines of credit, and failed to put a significant portion of their inventories into hybrids and high-MPG cars, are starting to fail. Likewise, furniture stores (which also go into debt to purchase their inventories) are hurting. A couple of the Mom & Pop shops have closed their doors, probably owing to the cost of rent. Most everything else remains solid, but I live in a relatively-affluent, and very insular community, which places a large emphasis on regional stores and locally-owned business. There are very few "big-box" places here, so currency is re-circulated in the local economy. Likewise, local infrastructure investment and town spending keeps this area highly desirable, so people are still flocking to the area.

The local discount stores are benefiting greatly from an increased focus towards cost-savings. Thrift stores, discount groceries, and co-ops are doing really well for themselves. The "slightly expired" health food store is even opening a second branch.

I expect that the economic slowdown will eventually end up closing some restaurants, many of the dealerships, and some of the poorly-managed, poorly-placed stores. I'd hope that the organic petfood store is the canary in the coalmine, but it remains open :)
 

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My husband lost his job in May (after 17 years, company went under) and got a new one in August. ONly he is not hired in permanant yet, hes a contract worker.


I havent noticed my nieghbors having any trouble yet, the main thing is for people to keep thier jobs.

If you dont have a job and are looking for anything, there is stiff competition. I went on a job interview a few weeks ago and almost everyone there was way overqualified for the postion. Job probably paid $8-9 an hour and there were people 50+ with degrees in different areas. Really pathetic. So, how do you think someone with no degree is going to get work?

I think that there is a definite slowdown in retail. Families with double incomes pulling in $100 k a year still making up the majority of shoppers, i dont think they have changed much. Its the folks making 30 to 75 k that are really stuggling with inflation. This group is getting poorer and doesnt do the shopping they once did.

Just heard that private student loans are going on 11-14% now. Can you imagine?
 
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