More Signs the Economy is Weakening

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There are more signs that the economy is weakening. New home sales are home values are down, and companies continue to lay off workers.

On the surface, it appears there's little to celebrate, but some are experiencing the Christmas spirit in spite of the gloomy economic outlook.

Assembly lines across the country are screeching to a halt and it's not just for the holidays.

After 80 years of operating in this Janesville plant in Wisconsin, some 1,200 employees punch out on their last shifts today - for good.

"I have friends and family, people you went to school with - you know - your grandparents maybe worked here. It's all going away. It's a hard thing to deal with," Karen Trembula said.

Harder yet, because of the tough financial times. Today, the government confirmed that the economy - already in recession - is further in decline.

Economists predict an even bigger plunge for the current quarter - October through December.

Many analysts believe this will be one of the deepest and longest recessions - perhaps the most prolonged since the great depression with consumers continuing to cut spending, businesses putting off investments, and unsold homes sitting on the market for months.

And then there's unemployment - nearing seven percent.

Last month alone a half a million workers lost their jobs, but it could have been worse.

Some workers are willing to do almost anything for a job, like this sign holder braving the cold for a paycheck.

"Right now I've been laid off from my job and I need the extra money for the holidays," Jim Stanuszek said.

Fortunately, fewer people have to go to those lengths. While companies are looking to cut labor costs, a growing number are finding ways to do it without.

"Companies are cutting the workweek, offering furloughs, some are even shutting down between Christmas and New Year's," John Challenger, CEO, Challenger said.

Options that are better than the alternative.

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