Unemployed should add “not getting sick” to New Year’s resolutions

Your weekly round-up of hopeless economy news.

  • Millions of unemployed U.S. workers face sharply higher health insurance premiums and loss of coverage as temporary federal subsidies expire. [Reuters]

  • Unemployment worsened or stayed the same in most metro areas in October, the Labor Department said, as jobs remained scarce nationwide. [AP]
  • Highway-construction companies around the country, having completed the mostly small projects paid for by the federal economic-stimulus package, are starting to see their business run aground, an ominous sign for the nation’s weak employment picture. Since the recession began in 2007, employment in the construction industry has fallen by 1.6 million, according to the Labor Department. [WSJ]
  • One in four U.S. homeowners owes more on his or her mortgage than the properties are worth. And a gathering storm of commercial real estate foreclosures could deal another major blow to the financial system. [AP]
  • In a consumer confidence survey, nearly half the population, 49.8 percent, saying jobs are hard to get, while only 3.2 percent say they think jobs are plentiful. Not since late 1982 have people been that negative on jobs. [NYT]
  • The government says the number of seniors living alone who sought help from food pantries last year increased 81 percent to 408,000 — up from 225,000 in 2006. [AP]
  • The number of Americans facing long-term unemployment, which includes people who cannot find work for 27 weeks or more, has been at record highs in recent months, reaching 5.6 million in October. It was more than 5.9 million people in November, or 38.3 percent of those unemployed. Once hiring resumes, those workers are likely to be among the last to land jobs. [NYT]
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