The XX Factor

Recession Briefing 6.5

The recession has sparked a growing phenomenon of people dressing up as superheroes to perform community service, help the homeless and even fight crime. Superheroes also emerged as figures in the Great Depression. ( CNN , Recessionwire )

Instead of feeling self-conscious about spending less, people are flaunting their frugality. Both those who have lost income and those who simply fear they may become at risk are part of the new discourse. ( Washington Post )

The official unemployment rate doesn’t include millions of “involuntary part-time workers,” or those who grew discouraged and stopped looking for work.  Once they are added to the unemployment mix, the April rate would be 15.8 percent. ( Associated Press ) Are you among the ” Screwed ” by the economy? See our Laid-Off 101 guide .

The recession has caused many consumers to put off major purchases - such as a new car or washing machine - until the economy rebounds. This pent-up consumer demand could help the rebound, but economists are unsure what it will take to unleash it. ( USA Today )

The rough economy and a proliferation of resale sites have goosed the market for used wedding dresses. ( Wall Street Journal )

A survey released Thursday shows women-led businesses are surviving the recession better than most other businesses. The reason: women-led businesses traditionally have taken on little debt.  ( Miami Herald )

The labor market is no longer cratering, but its recovery may come slowly, and that isn’t good news for the economy. Persistently high unemployment could weigh on indebted consumers and fuel more losses in the banking sector. ( Wall Street Journal )

The carnage in state budgets is getting worse, a report said Thursday . Hardest hit on the income tax collection front was New York, where revenues were off 48.9 percent compared with the last fiscal year.  ( New York Times )

“To speak plainly, chicks don’t dig a broke guy,” says Dallas resident Sean Hamilton who was laid off and is now a part-time consultant. He finds his underemployment is interfering with his dating life. ( Associated Press ) Read more on ” Love in the Time of Layoff .”

Homes that are vacant due to foreclosures are being considered for temporary hurricane housing , Florida’s top disaster-management official said. ( United Press International )