The XX Factor

Recession Briefing 6.10

Congress has approved a “cash for clunkers” bill that aims to boost new auto sales by allowing consumers to turn in their gas-guzzling cars and trucks for vouchers worth up to $4,500 toward more fuel-efficient vehicles . ( Associated Press )

Nigerian email scammers have adapted to the recession and are starting to target job seekers . ( Gawker )

Seventy-one percent of high-school guidance counselors this year saw an increase in the number of their students who chose a more-affordable option over their “dream school,” according to a survey. ( Chronicle of Higher Education )

With cheery, the-future-is-bright advertising and, in some cases, revisionist branding, financial companies are trying to put their troubled pasts behind them , or at least out of the public’s mind. ( New York Times )

A survey by the National Retail Federation found that retail crimes such as shoplifting and “fencing” (re-selling goods at pawn shops or on eBay) have risen during the economic downturn. ( Washington Post /Small Change )

Though blue-collar trades have suffered greater unemployment than the national average, our current recession may represent a paradigm shift: “Creative” types have also been hit hard by the crisis. ( Minyanville )

The endowment of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the world’s largest private foundation, has dropped $2 billion since January. ( Seattle Times )

Brits are drinking more as a result of the recession, according to a study - with half of those who are out of work admitting to drinking more during the day. ( Daily Telegraph )

Going against the tide and starting your own business in a recession can be easier than it would be during boom times. Five reasons to consider going solo now. ( US News & World Report )

Some businesses are finding that the best price they can charge is nothing at all. Merchants are realizing that giving recession-battered consumers something for nothing can be a good way to get them to buy something else. Related: Should you raise your prices in a recession?( Associated Press , Recessionwire )