The bad news continues on the employment front, with jobless claims posting yet another increase over analysts expectations. The headline number showed a seasonablly adjusted increase of 7,000 to 455,000. This number is the highest since March 02. Last week the overall unemployment rate hit the meter at 5.7%, again a 5 year high. This is certainly not surprising given what is going on in the economy and it is likely that these numbers will continue to rise until the economy shows signs of a turn-around. The hardest hit sector so far have been anything related to housing, but the ripple effect is extending through financial sectors and of course consumer related companies. STARBUCKS caught headlines recently with announcements of massive store closures and lay-offs.
Where I am here in BC there are help wanted signs everywhere, but the problem is the jobs are low paying, service related positions. Tim Hortons, The Shoe Warehouse, Winners… $10-$15/yr jobs do not pay for housing or put food in the table in these parts, certainly not when a loaf of healthy bread cost $4.25 at the local market.
My heart goes out to all people who are struggling to make ends meet in this difficult economic environment.