The XX Factor

Recession Briefing 5.20

With tightened budgets and layoffs abounding, is it okay to ask for a raise this year? Tread carefully and the request can be both sensitive and successful. ( Philadelphia Inquirer )

Welcome to the summer of the furlough. During this recession, everyone from universities to technology companies are using furloughs as a way to cut payroll without further trimming their staffs. ( Fortune )

As cash-strapped consumers face escalating food prices, Wal-Mart, Kraft, Unilever and Campbell are using the magical $1 price to appeal to people cooking more at home. ( USA Today )

The Obama administration is discussing the creation of a regulatory commission that would have broad authority to protect consumers who use a wide variety of financial products. ( Washington Post )

The travel industry is banking on bargains and special deals to spur business this summer , as many consumers hit by the recession are staying put. ( National Public Radio )

“It’s hard not to agree with economists who suggest that today’s young Americans are the first generation that will be less well-off than their parents,” writes Nathaniel Loewentheil. ( Huffington Post )

Just as optimism began to bloom, U.S. housing starts hit a record low. The homebuilding sector may have to endure a long bottoming process. ( BusinessWeek )

With mortgage rates holding below 5%, there has rarely been a better time to refinance your home. But with tighter credit and falling home prices, the process has never been more difficult. ( Wall Street Journal )

Video game makers, previously thought to be immune to the recession, are starting to feel some pain. ( CNN/Money )

New Orleans and Louisiana, still recovering from Hurricane Katrina, are actually seeing economic growth amid the recession. ( Christian Science Monitor )