Wrong time to go to America

This is not the best of times to desire the pursuit of the American Dream of great material attainments to the United States of America. The troubling statistics of damning unemployment rate reaching record peaks last week was exemplified at the North Carolina Employment Security Commission when a phone line problem combined with an overload of applicants for unemployment overwhelmed the computer system preventing some people from filing claims.

The phone line problem was fixed Sunday, when 74,000 people tried to access the system, and the ESC thought the overload problem had been handled as well. But the system failed again Monday when about 55,000 people tried to file either for new or continuing benefits.

Eighteen months ago, the Web site might have gotten 23,000 hits on a busy day, James said.

But the recession has taken its toll in North Carolina, where the jobless rate in November, the last month for which figures are available, was 7.9 percent. That was the highest since October 1983.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that the U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings jumped nearly 33 percent in 2008 amid a recession that’s expected to keep filings rising into the new year.

Overall consumer filings reached 1,064,927 last year, up from 801,840 in 2007, according to data collected by the National Bankruptcy Research Center and published by the American Bankruptcy Institute.

A recession that began in December 2007 has stretched many consumers who are turning to bankruptcy protection amid job losses, mortgage foreclosures and heavy personal debt.