A weekly round-up of hopeless economy news. Get psyched!
- During the 2007-9 downturn, more people thought their own financial situation was going to get worse than thought it would improve. In April, about one person in 10 expected his or her family’s income to improve, while about one in six expected family income to go down. [NYT]
- After dragging their heels for many months, consumers were at last a major contributor to economic growth in the first quarter. Consumer spending grew at an annual rate of 3.6 percent, a big gain from the 1.6 percent rate of the previous three months. Purchases of durable goods like cars led the way. [NYT]
- But long-term unemployment is at a level that dwarfs anything since the government started tracking the problem shortly after World War II. Of the nearly 14 million people now counted as unemployed, a record 44% have been out of work more than six months. Before the most recent recession, that figure had never reached 24%. [CNN]
- And if you’re a baby boomer, it’s going to be that much tougher to get a job. In this recession, the unemployment rate for people 55 and older hit 7.2 percent, the highest level ever recorded in the post-World War II era for workers in this age group. [NPR]
- But the good news is that you can always get a job taking care of your fellow boomers. In an aging population, the elderly are increasingly being taken care of by the elderly. Professional caregivers — almost all of them women — are one of the fastest-growing segments of the American work force, and also one of the grayest. The organization projects that from 2008 to 2018, the number of direct care workers, which includes those in nursing homes, will grow to 4.3 million from 3.2 million. The percentage of older caregivers is projected to grow to 30 percent from 22 percent. [NYT]
- And in news no one should be surprised by, the American people still blame Mr. Bush more than President Obama for the state of the economy according to a Gallup poll. [The Christian Science Monitor]
- Tragically, cases of shaken baby syndrome have jumped sharply during the recession, researchers say, further fueling worries about the link between economic stress and the deadliest form of child abuse. [MSNBC]