The figures are hideous, the worst in 34 years. Over 530 000 Americans lost their jobs in November.
That is much worse than forecast, and is reminiscent of the mass layoffs that followed the first oil shock in the 1970s
Take, for example, a plant making material for the interiors of General Motors cars. Detroit has sneezed, and hundreds of firms like this are catching cold:
“It’s extremely unnerving, it’s scary. 20 minutes ago just before you came I had to personally lay off three more people. If Congress doesn’t help the industry out the trickle-down effect is going to be phenomenal,” said one harassed subcontractor.
And it is a first rule of economics that job cuts trickle down a lot faster than wealth does. Congress has been debating all week if America’s carmakers deserve support. Without them entire cities could go on the breadline, but, accused of inefficiency and waste, the carmakers may not obtain all the money they say they need to survive.