Thursday, 5 March 2009
The parallels of latitude
The slump in the US is deepening,if plunging car sales and a series of negative economic indicators and the ongoing sell offs on the stock exchange are anything to go by. Predictions have been made that unemployment for February, to be announced today Friday, will jump to more than 700,000 in a single month, bringing the unemployment rate to more than 8percent ramming home the non-stop severity of the economic crisis in the US.
California's unemployment alone stands at 10.1 percent, the highest it has been in more than 15 years, with a devastating effect impacting upon the poor, but more so on the "new poor" those who a few year ago would have considered themselves as being middle class.
According to one report the number who are extremely poor in LA County "roughly matches the total population of Washington D.C., and is greater than the total population of Seattle, Los Veges or Miami." Obama and his administration have their work cut out when you consider that cities like Los Angeles have poverty rates higher than the average countryside rate of 6 percent East Los Angele's has a poverty rate of 10 percent.
Food stamp usage has grown dramatically: "By the end of October, the number of people receiving food stamps in L.A. County approached 700,000, the most since May 2002." This is a reflection of the tightening pinch that food prices are exerting on struggling families.
On February 26 Bloomberg.com carried a revealing report, "California's Newly Poor Push Social Services to Brink." The article describes the devastation, emotional and psychological, as well as financial, that has struck middle-class Contra Costa County, east of the San Francisco Bay area, with a population of one million.
Unemployment in California began rising from less than 5 percent in 2006 to the current 10.2 percent and is expected to be as high as 13 percent by the end of the year, a trend that parallels the evolution of unemployment between 1930 and 1932.
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