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What it’s Like to Be On Your Own

We’ve already heard a lot here about “The 99ers,” the long-term unemployed who have not only became a new byproduct of an unprecedented string of Congressional extensions to unemployment benefits, but who have also long-since exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment benefits available to them in many states in the wake of the recent economic downturn. The group, inauspiciously dubbed “The 99ers” for the remarkable amount of time they went without a job and with benefits, have come to represent the collective face (and plight) of many jobless Americans from across the country, forced to hang on every tea leaf, smoke signal, and whisper from the halls of Congress for signs of a new job plan, a new stimulus package, and more help for the recession-weary.

The Older They Are, The Harder It Is

According to a new survey from AARP, older workers say economy worse than last year. Nearly two thirds of workers in the 50+ age group first surveyed by AARP's Public Policy Institute in 2010 said things had gotten worse by the time the senior lobbying powerhouse followed up in August. Fewer than one in 10 said their view of the economy had improved. The remainder felt like things were close to the same.

Getting Ready for a Seasonal Hiring Slump

Solid sales figures in prior pre-holiday shopping seasons combined with large crowds during the biggest shopping day of the year (AKA November’s “Black Friday”) had previously emboldened many eager employers to hire more seasonal staff leading up to an even busier holiday season. For example, the result of strong consumer demand in 2010—only one year out from the official end of the economic recession—was that hundreds of thousands of Americans were being hired for temporary jobs at retailers across the country—employment many hoped would eventually translate into full-time work.

But fast forward to fall 2011, as many retailers begin testing the waters for another tepid month of consumer confidence by announcing less-than-cheery holiday hiring. In fact, the largest U.S. electronics retailer, Best Buy Co. has announced this week that they’ll hire only about half as many seasonal staff as last year “and increase the hours its regular staffers work as part of its plans for the crucial upcoming holiday season.”

Avoiding Getting “Taken Advantage Of” When Taking Advantage of Balance Transfer Offers

We’ve all seen them.

Envelopes full of checks and other offers filling our mailboxes these days touting 0% or 2.99% and other low-to-no interest balance transfers for your more costly credit cards. These seductive rates do come at a cost if you don’t know what to look out for.

New Poll Shows We Are Pre-Occupied By Income Inequity

You’ve probably seen the hordes of protesters converging on New York in recent weeks, hell bent on occupying the very place where income inequity arguably began: the home of America’s financial markets, Wall Street.

But a new poll shows these self-professed 99 percenters, boycotting the privileged elite at the highest 1% of the income range, aren’t the only ones deeply troubled by the high incidences of income inequity in this country.

Halloween industry remains profitable despite depressed economy

Ghosts and goblins and ghouls are normally the horrifying hallmarks of annual Halloween holiday, satisfying generations of trick-or-treaters, horror movie aficionados, and lovers of frightfully fun parties during every seasonal stand.

But in these tough economic times, when consumerism can’t keep up with flagging incomes and mounting debt, the scariest thing about Halloween may be that we spend so much money on it.

A new report reveals a whole industry has emerged to deal with rising demand for costumes and other customary accouterments, raising Halloween-related revenues from around $6 million in 1988 to over $6 billion in 2011.

Food for Thought: Half of Americans Didn’t Eat Out Last Year

Despite recent findings that the number one thing Americans waste their money on is eating out, a new survey provides the proverbial “food for thought” to those who believe they are struggling alone in their own personal financial crisis.

A report from Seattle Weekly finds that more than half of all Americans say they've recently gone a year without dining out, in what may be one of the clearest signs of how the current economic malaise is impacting our ability to consume even the most basic luxury choices. In fact, according to recently released figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, only 49.3 percent of adults say they "dined out" between fall 2009 and fall 2010, accounting for the lowest percentage of people eating at restaurants since 2007, when just 48.7 percent of adults said they did so.

Making a Dent in the Unemployment Disaster

With news this month that almost 40 percent of Americans belive unemployment is the biggest issue facing the country—a figure that leapt from 29 percent between August and September 2011—it’s clear that folks are beginning to believe that joblessness more than “the economy” as a whole is the nation’s most important problem as well as a primary concern for them as part of a larger pool of citizens just struggling to get by in post-recessionary America.

These Gallup polling numbers explain why the Obama Administration’s recent announcement, and submission to Congress, of the American Jobs Act—combining stimulus and tax cuts to spur job growth—is more important than ever to a nation struggling to find a solution to its rampant unemployment and underemployment problems.

When “Hours Are the New Bonus,” Bankruptcy is the New Answer

We talk a lot here about the trials and travails of underemployment, a perpetual condition of post-recessionary America, in which many, if not most, workers face stagnant wages and/or part-time jobs that fail to keep up with the rising cost of living in the new economy.

In particular, retail workers struggle for hours amid a weak economic recovery, clamoring for extra work in this lower-skilled and paying field.

Everything You Wanted to Know to Make a 2011 Bankruptcy Work for You, Part Two.

Since the real estate reckoning of 2007 launched what would become a global economic meltdown, average Americans just like you have been taking advantage of the sure-fire safe havens of personal bankruptcy. But part of successfully joining the more than 1.5 million people who will file in 2011, is planning for life following the fruition of that bankruptcy.

In fact, with so many people facing income deficiencies due to underemployment or unemployment in 2011, it’s work revisiting the best advice for an effective bankruptcy.


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