Unemployment claims increased last week, exceeding the pessimistic estimates of most analysts and putting the future of the economic recovery in doubt. More people are being laid off, after a brief respite during the past few months, and fears of a double-dip are growing.
How do you cope in a time of increasing unemployment? When the economy stutters, it becomes more likely that you or people close to you will lose your job, no matter how well it may be going. If a company cannot generate sales, it will cut staff.
If you think your job or your hours might be in jeopardy, the first thing to do is find out about the true situation of your company. A good manager will be willing to talk honestly, and you might find that your fears are unwarranted.
It also means that it’s a good time to start working a bit harder, putting in extra hours and staying late. Seniority aside, less productive workers are likely to go before dedicated employees.
Cut back on unnecessary costs at home, and focus on the fundamentals: housing, food and paying your debts.
Finally, and perhaps counterintuitively – keep your lines of communication open, and stay social. In the past, people survived tough economic times by banding together and cooperating. Americans are more atomized from each other than ever, but when the going gets tough, a strong social support group will help people pull through.