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Old 03-21-2009, 10:04 PM
 
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 303,824 times
Reputation: 123

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G'day...Im from NZ and am interested to hear what the average American thinks of, and is reacting to, the economic and financial situation in the US. We are seeing so much here in NZ about the US economy, the unemployment queues, falling house prices, foreclosures, banks going under or being assisted and the huge sums of money being pumped into the economy.
In NZ we are also in a recession with house prices falling (about 14% so far), unemployment heading up (currently 3.6% with expectations of increases to above 7% over the next year), our dollar falling 30% against the US in a matter of months, and the government pulling infrastructure spending forward and subsidising employees to work a 9 day fortnight to try and keep unemployment under control. And although there has been a lift in foreclosures, banks here are resisting the temptation of foreclosing on people as it is not in their best interest, as well as the property markets and economy.
But, our predicament does not seem to be anywhere near as what we see in the news on the US. Are things really bad in the States for the average American, or does the media just show us the worst parts.

Last edited by muir33; 03-21-2009 at 10:33 PM..
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Old 03-21-2009, 10:49 PM
 
Location: Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
463 posts, read 1,367,566 times
Reputation: 275
From most people that I've talked to, the biggest blow this recession has taken is in people's retirement accounts and college funds. The housing collapse has the most impact in recent high-growth states such as Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. As far as jobs and incomes go, the "boom" of the 00s was mostly an illusion when it comes to the average American worker, so it doesn't feel too different now for the working and middle classes, with the exception that so many more are unemployed.
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:42 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,988 posts, read 102,554,590 times
Reputation: 33051
If you have a job, and aren't trying to sell your house, the lifestyle hasn't changed much. There are a lot more people out of work, including professionals, and it's hard to sell a house and make much of a profit if you bought it within the last 2-3 years. If you bought a while ago, you're better off if trying to sell. Our investments aren't worth as much, but hopefully before we retire the market will go back up.
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Old 03-21-2009, 11:54 PM
 
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
141 posts, read 303,824 times
Reputation: 123
How hard is it to live in the US if you are unemployed? We have a benefit here that helps you out as well as accommodation supplements to assist with rents/mortgages. Ive heard this doesnt exist in the US, or at least, is very short term help. Again, in the news here we are seeing people walking out of their homes and moving into trailer parks with no where else to go??
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Old 03-22-2009, 12:54 AM
 
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,351,920 times
Reputation: 4909
Quote:
Originally Posted by muir33 View Post
How hard is it to live in the US if you are unemployed? We have a benefit here that helps you out as well as accommodation supplements to assist with rents/mortgages. Ive heard this doesnt exist in the US, or at least, is very short term help. Again, in the news here we are seeing people walking out of their homes and moving into trailer parks with no where else to go??

People living in trailer parks? In America?

FEMA?
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Old 03-22-2009, 01:20 AM
 
7,848 posts, read 18,267,066 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by muir33 View Post
How hard is it to live in the US if you are unemployed? We have a benefit here that helps you out as well as accommodation supplements to assist with rents/mortgages. Ive heard this doesnt exist in the US, or at least, is very short term help. Again, in the news here we are seeing people walking out of their homes and moving into trailer parks with no where else to go??
I'm sure the media portrays the entire situation as worse than it is, and it usually shows some of the worst cases because those are more sensational - therefore get more viewer attention. I haven't heard of anyone being forced into a trailer park by the recession - I don't even know where any trailer parks are located.

Like someone said earlier, for the majority of Americans life hasn't changed considerably. But unemployment is high...a good many people have lost their jobs and/or financial investments...discretionary spending is way down...home values have decreased in most areas...home foreclosures are unusually common right now...and people aren't generally in a good mood right now.

There is unemployment insurance available through the federal government, and it's usually available for up to a year - sometimes longer depending on the economy. There are lots of additional government social programs for people in need as well.
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Old 03-22-2009, 07:11 AM
 
Location: Beautiful Pelham Parkway,The Bronx
8,477 posts, read 20,368,049 times
Reputation: 6349
Sounds like the media portrayal of the situation is a joke.

Don't forget that the unemployment rate was almost 5 % when this all began and is almost always at least 4 or 5 % even in the best of times . Now it has gone up to 7 or 8% or something like that . In other words it has gone up by 3 %. That means that 97 % of people who had a job 2 years ago still have the same job with the same salary.

The real estate/foreclosure problem is mainly concentrated in a few states.Something like 90 % of the foreclosures have been in Florida,Arizona,California and Nevada.That's 4 out of the 50 states.

All of us are feeling a lot poorer because our retirement accounts have been cut in half and our home values have gone down by from 10 to 30 or 40 % depending on where we live .

I am not trying to downplay the situation for those who have lost a job or a home but so far ,for the vast majority of Americans( like 85 or 90 %) ,the effect has been more psychological than anything else.

The media always likes to play up these things and I am sure the rest of the world will get a little satisfaction on seeing the US down but from what I hear things are actually much worse in most of Europe than they are here in the states.... and that is coming from friends who live there,not the TV.

Let's just hope things get better for everyone soon !

Last edited by bluedog2; 03-22-2009 at 07:29 AM..
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:37 AM
 
11,172 posts, read 22,366,973 times
Reputation: 10919
I've seen my retirement drop....but I'm only in my 20's.

I personally don't know anyone here in Chicago who's had their lifestyle change in any way from the past few years.....but obviously those people are out there.

I think it's just a matter of seeing the millions of people who's lives have been turned upside down every day on the news/TV....but not hearing anything of the two hundred million who are still chugging along as they were.

The thing is people who can still be spending money have all stopped because they're scared and are under the impression they have to tighten their belts. I'm sure for many of them they should if they were just charging crap on credit cards.
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:51 AM
Status: "Summer!" (set 16 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,988 posts, read 102,554,590 times
Reputation: 33051
What I have noticed is fewer people at the malls (in general) and more people at places like Wal Mart, Kohl's, etc. Just yesterday I went to Target and it was dead. This is in the Denver metro area.
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Old 03-22-2009, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Newtown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania
463 posts, read 1,367,566 times
Reputation: 275
Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
What I have noticed is fewer people at the malls (in general) and more people at places like Wal Mart, Kohl's, etc. Just yesterday I went to Target and it was dead. This is in the Denver metro area.
Right! A new Target in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, was opened in 2008 with much fanfare and for a while was very busy, but already there are rumors that it might be closing because of low customer volume!

This recession is hitting two age groups the most: the older workers who are nearest to retirement, and the younger workers who are just entering the workforce. Unfortuanitely, in my family, my parents being in their late 50s and myself being in my mid 20s it is a double whammy. They have lost a good chunk of their retirement savings (and that's even with them being cautious and conservative investors) and are worrying about being able to afford retirement. I and most of my friends, on the other hand, are having very difficult times finding jobs, even with college degrees. Even the fall-back retail positions are not as sure as they once were; because of lower volumes at places like Target, those places are reducing the hours for their workers or laying people off, or just simply closing the stores altogether.
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