And by “our” I mean the whole world, since the economic crisis is worldwide. We had a nice diversion with the election, but in the cold light of morning, we realize the situation is as dire as it was before the election consumed us. The stock market took another dive yesterday. That matters to me because of my 401k, but I don’t think it’s the big news. I think even the bailouts are going to take a backseat to the bigger story of job losses.
NEW YORK – Planned layoffs at U.S. firms surged to their highest in nearly five years during October, with cuts in the financial and auto sectors leading the charge as the economic outlook worsened, a report by outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas said on Wednesday.
Job cuts announced in October totaled 112,884, up 19 percent from September, the report said, citing evidence of widespread economic malaise as troubles that began in housing and banking infect the rest of the economy.
“The fact that nearly three out of four industry categories are cutting more jobs is proof of how widely the impact of this downturn has spread,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of Challenger, Gray & Christmas.
“A year ago, job cuts were concentrated in the financial sector and home-building industries. Job cuts are now rising across the board.”
October represented the year’s worst month for job cuts for several industries, said Challenger, including industrial goods manufacturing, consumer products, pharmaceutical, food and electronics.
The report comes as the government is expected to report 200,000 jobs were lost in October, bringing the total this year to nearly 1 million.
The unemployment rate is also seen rising to 6.3 percent from 6.1 percent. Economists forecast that the jobless rate will rise to more than 8 percent before the job market recovers.
“Year-end job cuts are typically higher than at other times of the year, but the fact that October was significantly higher than recent years suggests that companies not only have been hit hard by this downturn, but they do not see a rebound any time in the near future,” said Challenger (all emphasis, mine)
This is the thing that worries me the most. So many Americans live from paycheck to paycheck with no savings and no safety net. On a personal level, people need that steady flow of income to survive. In the bigger picture, the economy needs people to spend money to remain healthy.
I’m predicting job losses will be the greatest economic priority by the time Obama takes office in January.