Dismal Economy Taking Toll on Christmas Cheer

December 11, 2008 1:10:01 PM PST
Many Americans are facing this holiday season with a bad case of the blues. Julie Brock has three kids, one house, and no job. "It's been very, very difficult. After sending about 50 resumes, I had received absolutely no calls back whatsoever."

She is not alone.

New claims for unemployment benefits reached their highest level in 26-years last week. Initial applications for jobless benefits rose to 573,000. Most economists expected 525,000.

Getting a job and keeping a house, those top many of the no-frills Christmas lists this year.

Foreclosures dropped 7% last month compared to October, but the number is still up 28% from a year ago. "When I hear people say the economy might get worse before it gets better, that makes me very intimidated. It's a stressful position to be in," said Anthony Lambert, Jr.

The stress is mounting coast to coast. California has the largest number of foreclosure filings. Florida leads the country in job losses.

During a time of year when parents are often looking for the hottest toys, this morning they lined up at a job fair hosted by Good Morning America.

The recession does not discriminate, just ask the governor of New Jersey. "We are cutting through the fat, and frankly, dangerously into the bone."

According to retail data, foot traffic at the nation's biggest retail chains fell by nearly 17 percent last month, the traditional kick-off month for the key holiday shopping season.

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