10 Signs the Recession Is Not Over

Economists are saying the recession is over. Bull hockey! Maybe the stock market is recovering and bankers are smiling, but you and I both know America still has a long row to hoe before the little people see blue skies again (you should excuse the mixed metaphor). 

We all know people who've been unemployed so long they've given up. Our early enthusiasm for frugal living has turned into frugal fatigue. And it's been heaven knows how long since dining out didn't eat up our entire food budget.

So next time you hear the economy is getting better, just think about these 10 signs the recession is over. In fact, we had a hard time limiting ourselves to just 10!

1. Two Buck Chuck America's Best Selling Wine
Trader Joe’s, a specialty grocery store based in California, is a savior to cash-strapped wine snobs. The store's legendary Charles Shaw wines, lovingly nicknamed “Two Buck Chuck” have become something of a phenomenon and are now the nation’s best-sellers That's not surprising when you consider the combination of great taste and low prices ($1.99 - $3.49 per bottle, depending on the region).

2. Unemployed Women Selling Their Wedding Rings on Craigslist
There are thousands of ads on Craigslist for things like used household appliances, everything furniture related, and cars from people who need a little quick cash to get by, with the seller frequently revealing a glimpse of the problems necessitating the sale. According to The Huffington Post, "Sellers typically said they posted their ads in an effort to take care of their children."

3. The 99-cent Heart Attack
Fast food chains are hellbent on luring back customers who swore off eating out when the recession hit. Granted, eating at a fast food restaurants can't really be considered "dining out, but that hasn't stopped McDonald's and friends from jumping on the Value Menu bandwagon and combining all their cheaper items into one convenient list. Sadly, some offerings contain such questionable ingredients they should never cost more than $1. 

4. Senior Citizen Interns
Interns older than the boss are no longer freaks in the workplace. Looking for a toe-hold in an impossible job market, experienced workers are accepting internships normally filled by recently graduated college students.

5. Teenagers Beg Friends to Stop Calling
It's easy to identify the end of a friend's cell phone billing cycle. Cash-strapped Americans have cut-back on their phone plans, making it nearly impossible to reach them as their allotted monthly minutes run out. The unemployed can’t afford to gossip with just anyone.

6. Living With Your Ex
Normally, a break up involving a co-habiting couple would involve someone throwing the ex’s belonging out the window while yelling, “And stay out!” As enjoyable as such an outburst may be, doing so could prove drastic for both parties. If the partner staying put is unemployed or fears losing their job, chances are the task of paying full rent or the mortgage solo could result in eviction or foreclosure. For the ex who normally would vamoose, finding a new place without a job could ultimately lead to setting up digs in a storage, staking a claim on a friend's couch or -- shudder -- moving back in with the 'rents (with the added bonus of mom detailing what went wrong in your marriage).

7. Surging Sales of Bargain Peanut Butter
It doesn't matter peanut-butter manufacturers have put inverted dimples in the bottom of their bottles to fake us out;; it's still the protein of choice when wallets are thin. The days of eating organic and preservative-free foods have gone the way of the five-martini lunch. If produce isn't frozen, jarred or available from Walmart, they’ve been scratched off the unemployed’s diet. 

8. Crashing Unemployment Sites
America's new soundtrack is the tinkle-tinkle of crashing unemployment websites across the country as thousands of applicants attempt to process new claims each day. 

About 4.5 million Americans are collecting jobless benefits, a 26-year high, so the websites and phone systems now commonly used to file for benefits are being tested like never before. Systems in New York, North Carolina and Ohio were shut down completely in January by technical glitches and heavy volume, and labor officials in several other states are reporting higher-than-normal use. Even those holding up under the strain are in many cases leaving filers on the line for hours, or kissing them off with an "all circuits are busy" message. The good news is agencies are scrambling to hire hundreds of new employees to process claims. Now that's the true definition of ironic, Alanis.

9. "In This Economy" Cliché Beaten Like a Dead Horse
There are only so many ways you can say the economy is so bad a picture is now only worth 200 words. TV news anchors, who traditionally will milk cliches until the cow is dead, are actually grimacing every time the teleprompter reads "in this economy." You know it's time to retire a cliché when your drug dealer begins to use it. 

10. Libraries Not Just Havens for the Homeless
The library makes it easy to cut back on expenses “in this economy” by offering their services to anyone with a library card and plenty of hand sanitizer. Instead of buying new books, you can check the online catalog, click on “reserve” and swing by the library when it’s ready for pick up.

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17 Comments

You are correct. You and I know that America is still suffering and will do so for generations to come. Real estate, employment and car manufacturers are just an example of the ongoing struggles that plague this wonderful country of freedom and opportunity.
Posted by Mike Kemp

You make some interesting points. I think you've just scratched the surface on this topic. This could go so deep with analysis that there wouldn't be enough room in this article. I do beleive that there is a lot of money out there. Once it's percieved that things are getting better people will start to slowly spend again.


Posted by Mike
I think the prices of food play a vital role in the society because it is every common mans need.
Posted by Collin paul
Thank you for having the time to discuss this subject. I truly appreciate it. I’ll stick a link of this post in my blog.
Posted by Get Your Girlfriend Back
The recession is definitely not over yet. Based on Elliott Wave Theory, we've still got a bit to go. Everything is cyclical so we just have to tough it out.
Posted by Elliott Wave Market Trader
4 months later and even though slightly improving jobless claims numbers came out today, the recession is still in full effect. I get the feeling that people have stopped trying to get jobs.
Posted by OptionBit
I don't know if the recession is really over, but this article is terrible and certainly shouldn't be mistaken for reporting. It's nothing but a lot of anecdotes and opinions. References and data seem to be in short supply, or months old. Finally, the snide comments about public libraries was just plain rude. Libraries are not filthy refuges for the homeless or the poor. They are wonderful resources for all members of the community. There is no more need for hand sanitizer at the library than there is at any other public place. Ms. Forgach, your snobbiness is showing! (and no, I am not a librarian)
Posted by eKim
So Stever are you living large in Seattle? I don't think that living in pessimism is going to help this country. We all need to be hopeful and continue to carry on. "This too, shall pass........." Well, I hope so and lets not forget what made America great in the first place.
Posted by Angie
After reading all of these comments,I can see that the majority of post agree that the recession isn't over and that people are still struggling. I am too, I am currently receiving unemployment benefits and have looked high and low for a job. I would love to get back to work to provide for my family. Not everyone is living large like you Stever.
Posted by Angie
This so-called recession has been more like a depression for me and many people I know. For the first time in my 70 years, I've had to go on Food Stamps and Medicaid. I've had to file bankruptcy, and I'm in danger of becoming homeless if I can't find financial help to pay my maintenance fees and property taxes. The entire world has gone insane!
Posted by Wilma Thompson
This article is what's really "bull hockey". My wife travels for work and still finds airports, airplanes and all the popular tourist destinations jam-packed. Meanwhile, here in Seattle where we live, you can walk past restaurant after restaurant on any given night - and not just the cheap ones - with entire families inside eating dinner. The high-end retail core is always bustling, too. Getting similar reports from friends all over. The way this author tells it we're all huddled around a BBQ for heat eating peanut butter on rations! Maybe a little optimism would be better for the country instead of constantly trying to convince us things are so bad. Oh, wait, that doesn't make for sensationalist news stories. Silly me.
Posted by Stever
It's all true and I believe we still have a long way to go until we really feel better about our economic futures. Hopefully, the younger generations will see the folly that caused these hard times and not let themselves become victims of it again in their life times.
Posted by Shari
I agree with Stever. The liberal media created this so-called "recession" to talk America into electing a different party into the White House. America fell for it and now we have an unconstitutional health bill. I only hope America is alot wiser in these mid-term elections and hands the current President the same thing we handed President Clinton, a Republican majority house and senate.
Posted by John William Eveland
The scary part is that, at this point, more people work for the government than private industry. It's a crude measure but until we correct this imbalance, it's not going to get better.
Posted by Jerry in Detroit
This is so sad, and completely unnecessary. Recessions are created. You can bet the "international bankers," who created this "recession" are rolling in all that dough they continue to steal from us. Meanwhile, do NOT stop eating organic and healthy food. I know it's expensive but the other stuff is pure poison. We have so many illnesses in our society and ALL OF THEM (cancer, aids, candida, autism, dementia, etc.) are a result of a weakened immune system caused by eating substandard and highly toxic food. Wilma - use your food stamps to buy the healthiest you can, grow your own garden if you can. Medications they put us on, especially the elderly, are not good for you. All we need is good old fashioned wholesome food and to repeal the Federal Reserve Act that became law in 1913 created this mess in the first place.
Posted by Amanda
Frugal fatigue? At least now I know what to call it. It is going to get better, right??????
Posted by Musiccgirl
So, Stever...you still have access to upscale living in Seattle. Good for You! Two years ago, I was living near Boston, MA; in the throes of divorce, but we still had to live together until one of us could find a way to move. I had the best paying job of my life as an R.N. working as a Supervisor. I had a 19 year-old daughter. My life was going well. I relocated to the western slope of Colorado; very small towns, small town life. We were not too crazy about it, but we had family here, and nowhere else. I got a job within a month (excellent for here), full time nursing in the field I've always wanted. The HUGE decrease in pay (>50%) took me back a bit, but I figured we'd make it if we "cut back". After working 8 weeks, I developed serious health problems which kept getting worse as time went on. In November 2009, after having zero income since April 2009, I was approved for disability (thank goodness, we can survive). I had food stamps for 2 mos, and I just got Medicaid in December '09. I just got home from another month in hospital
Posted by RedRN69