A weekly round-up of hopeless economy news.
- The economic downturn has proven so costly to the US state of Hawaii, local officials have forced public schools to cut their school week to just four days, starting on Friday. With teachers sent home on the last day of the week to save money, 171,000 students in the island chain state in the Pacific Ocean will have their overall school year cut by 17 days, to 163 in total — the lowest number of school days out of the entire country. [AFP]
- According to official statistics, the unemployment rate in the United States is now 9.8 percent. But those statistics understate the severity of the jobs crisis. The official statistics do not include the 875,000 Americans who have given up looking for work, even though they want jobs. When these “marginally attached” workers and part-time workers are added to the officially unemployed, the result, according to another, broader governement measure of unemployment known as “U-6,” is shocking. The United States has an unemployment rate of 17 percent. And even this may understate the depth of the problem. By adding the 3.4 million Americans who want a job but have not looked for one in over a year, businessman, philanthropist and Obama advisor Leo Hindery Jr. infers an actual unemployment rate of 18.8 percent. In other words, nearly one in five Americans is unemployed or underemployed. [Salon]
- Average tuition at four-year public colleges in the U.S. climbed 6.5 percent, or $429, to $7,020 this fall as schools apologetically passed on much of their own financial problems, according to an annual report from the College Board, released Tuesday. At private colleges, tuition rose 4.4 percent, or $1,096, to $26,273. [AP]
- Unemployment rose in 23 U.S. states in September and hit records in Nevada, Rhode Island and Florida. [Bloomberg]