Signs of Our Economic Times: Nasty Ads, Overqualified Census Workers, Married Men Who Cheat, and More

  • Share
  • Read Later

The recession and its long-lingering effects may be at least partly responsible for why your child is enrolled in public school, your lawyer is depressed, and your husband is cheating on you.

Some atypical signs of how we and the economy are faring of late:

No Excuse for Census to Get Numbers Wrong This Time. Because so many people are out of work, the Census Bureau has had its pick of part-time employees, and the result is that those hired this year are probably the most experienced, best-qualified ever to compile census statistics. One woman hired for a part-time temporary assignment is a veteran of the U.S. State Department who has a Ph.D. and speaks seven languages.

Get Your Bargain Space Shuttle Here! NASA is selling vintage 1970s-era spaceships—yes, real ones, not toys—and because no buyers have surfaced, the asking price has dropped from $42 million to $28.8 million apiece. If I trade in my old gas-guzzling space shuttle in the transaction, will the government give me a $4.5 million rebate?

The Firm in a Bad Funk. Traffic is up 25% at the website Lawyers with Depression. Why? Law firm jobs are scarce, billable hours are down, and if you’re not making big bucks, it’s harder to be at peace with those huge law school loans and 100-hour work weeks.

On Second Thought, Public School Is Just Fine. With money tight, families are less likely to pay private school tuitions: By next fall, U.S. private schools are expected to be teaching about 174,000 fewer students, a drop of 3% compared to 2006.

Downscaling Upscale Department Stores. Bloomingdales is the latest big name to enter the discount outlet store market. Saks and Nordstrom are already operating outlet stores, and four Bloomies outlets are expected to open on the East Coast by the summer or fall.

Advertisements Tell You What Sucks. Instead of relentlessly hammering the optimistic “be the best you” drum, advertising campaigns are more likely now to mock competitor products and to acknowledge the limitations of any product, per the NY Times. The new ad take is meant to hit home with a newly realistic, even ornery national mood.

When Jobs Fade Away, Men Will Play. Being unemployed leaves you with low self-esteem and lots of time on your hands—both of which factor heavily into a higher likelihood of married men having affairs. Among other signs that the recession has led to a rise in extramarital affaris, membership has risen sharply among websites that help hook women up with married men (or vice versa). Who says that women only find men attractive if they have good (or any) jobs?

Ten Odd Economic Indicators: Hot Waitresses, Men’s Underwear, Blacked-Out Football Games, and More

Odd Economic Indicator Round-up: More Jews Moving to Israel, More Cramped Cubicles, More Smoking and Surfing Porn