In the wake of a bad holiday season, the news is more and more punctuated with job cuts by the thousands, first from the financial industry, and now from retail and tech powerhouses—Microsoft, Intel, and Sprint Nextel come to mind. The California jobless rate has crept above 9%. For those who don't quite make the statistics, there is increasing competition, less negotiating power, and one has to be a lot more adaptable to find work.
No longer can this be brushed off as a lackluster financial climate. The toll of suffering has started, and probably is going to be prolonged, and this is probably just the beginning.
Now, I do wish that house prices would fall to historic levels relative to income so I can afford to buy one. But I don't care about the prices of stocks and bonds—and commodities only to the degree that it affects prices I pay for food and gas. Though I've postulated a model which anticipates general economic stress in the face of a failing credit industry, I didn't want it to be like this.
UPDATE [1/29/09]: Unemployment claims have set a record this month with new filings at 588,000 and total at 4,776,000. In 1982, numbers were nearly this high, however it doesn't fully reflect the tightness of the work climate—as future indicators show no end to budget cuts and profit downgrades. [4/16/09]: This link from Slate goes to a map of the U.S. that shows job gains losses per county from Jan '07 to Feb '09. Just hit the play button and you will see a striking downtrend in jobs beginning at the end of 2008.