The most severe economic downturn in decades is beginning to bite in American families. The unemployment rate jumped up again last month. Parks Associates asked a national sample what telecommunications services they are thinking of canceling. The hard-wired telephone at home is the first to go among the largest percentage, followed by the cell phone, cable or satellite TV and access to the Internet. The ranking may surprise you, but even more surprising is that the range is eight percent of households on the high end and five percent on the low end. Most Americans feel that being electronically connected is a necessity along with food, shelter and utilities.
Scarborough Research, in a panel survey of children, found that three out of four teenagers in America are worried about the economy and 86 percent think that their parents are worried. Seven in ten have had a conversation with their parents about the topic and nearly half would like to talk some more. More than four out of five want to find out what caused the current situation and nearly two-thirds have had discussions on this topic with their teachers. A third of teens have cut back or changed what they eat or where they eat because of the recession. One in seven have dropped out of some after-school sports or recreation program and one in ten are no longer taking vitamins that their parents once insisted on.
Clearly American families are beginning to feel the pinch. To the vast majority it is more about worry at the moment rather than actual losses in their daily lives. But more and more are having to deal with the reality of unemployment and reduced incomes. They bring these concerns to church. Are we giving them opportunities to talk about it and support for doing something about it?