A couple signs of the times.
First, the McDonald's Monopoly game that is going on. The grand prize of $1,000,000 says on the advertisement "Give Up The Second Job!" Ouch. *SECOND* job.
Of course, it is paid out in something like $50,000 a year for 20 years but still...
Second, the positions in IT Security that were advertised at my prior place of work drew over 100 respondents each, before I left. Considering we had 9 openings listed, even with some overlap of candidates I am very glad I wasn't the one that had to go through the whole hiring process. There were close to 1,000 total applications!
Finally, Walmart is bringing back lay-away for this holiday. They did away with it a few years back but it looks like they're expecting year-end sales to be slow. It is just for limited sets of items, but that limit includes toys, clothes and electronics. There is a $50 minimum. People are reluctant to whip out the plastic -- assuming they have any available.