The Palm Beach post is reporting Suicide calls jump amid economic woes.

A local hot line has seen a dramatic spike in suicide calls from people in Palm Beach County who are facing foreclosure and can’t pay their bills, according to numbers released today.

Since the start of the year, 256 people in the county told operators at the 211 hot line that they were thinking about suicide. Of those, 44 told operators that their main reason was that they had lost a job, were facing foreclosure, couldn’t afford to pay their bills or were homeless.

During the same period in 2007, from Jan. 1 to June 10, the hot line received 137 suicide calls from people in Palm Beach County. Only 15 of those gave economic reasons.

The callers’ problems seem markedly different than in the past, said Susan Buza, executive director of 211 Palm Beach/Treasure Coast. Many callers, she said, have tried to find work for months.

Buza said she began adding up the numbers after operators noticed a rise in calls from people who could lose their homes.

“When we started looking at it, we were really shocked,” she said.

Bernanke should ask family members of those who commit suicide if the downturn has faded. Spiking suicides are one thing I did not even think about in Things That Have Not Yet Happened.

One thing have have thought about a lot but failed to mention in that post was huge state budget cutbacks such as 20,000 Teacher Layoffs In California, real estate agents that have not had a sale for months, and pending massive layoffs in financial service industries at banks and brokerages.

Weekly Claims

There was yet another bad Weekly Unemployment Claims Report on Thursday.

In the week ending June 7, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 384,000, an increase of 25,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 359,000. The 4-week moving average was 371,500, an increase of 2,500 from the previous week’s revised average of 369,000.

State Fiscal Budgets

States are aware that cutbacks have to be made. But they have delayed making them. Such is the nature of politicians. However, fiscal budgets for many states start in July. There will be a forced cutback in services (layoffs) or higher taxes or both. The situation is not pretty and it has not bottomed.

Monster Job Listings Plunge

Barron’s is reporting Monster: Worrisome Falloff In May Job Listings.

The number of job listings on employment Web site Monster Worldwide (MNST) fell dramatically in May compared with a year earlier, according to Deutsche Bank analyst Jeetil Patel.

Patel says that U.S. job postings are down 18% on a year-over-year basis for the quarter to date, with a 21% drop in May. That’s worse than the 8% slide in April. Patel says the shrinking number of listings could pressure revenue and profits in the June quarter. He says revenue from the North American careers segment could be down 10% year-over-year in the quarter, well below the 4% decline he had been projecting.

While it’s true that unemployment numbers are a lagging indicator, there has to be some chance of hitting bottom before taking the victory lap Bernanke is attempting to take. The odds of an economic rebound based on stimulus checks and other factors Bernanke is citing is close to zero.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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