Jewelry store owners around the country are scrambling to sell their collections to help them make ends meet amid a record number of job losses.
The unemployment rate for the entire U.S. rose to 5.9 percent in January, the Labor Department said Thursday, the highest level since October 2011.
The rate was 6.6 percent in August, according to the Labor Bureau.
The latest figures suggest the U.K. and Germany, both of which have been in recession for nearly two years, are now the most vulnerable nations.
And the unemployment rate in China, a country that has the world’s third-largest economy, has risen to 12.7 percent, the second highest since the end of the Great Recession.
The U.N. refugee agency said last week that there were nearly 2 million people living in extreme poverty.
That figure is a sharp increase from an earlier estimate of 1.7 million people in the third quarter.
Some businesses are also facing a shortage of cash as people spend less on their purchases and spend more on other needs, such as food.
Many companies have closed shop in the past few weeks, fearing they won’t be able to pay their workers in the months ahead.
Many of those closures have been blamed on an ongoing global economic slowdown that has also hurt the global economy.
The number of Americans who are officially unemployed has risen slightly to 6.9 million, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics, up from 6.8 million in November.
The jobless rate for non-farm payroll jobs, including self-employment, has fallen to 8.3 percent from 9.4 percent.
That compares with 8.9 percentage points a year earlier.
More than 1.2 million people, or about one in four Americans, are classified as unemployed, according a new survey from the Pew Research Center.
That includes 1.3 million Americans who have been unemployed for at least a year and another 1.6 million people who have lost their job for more than a year.
The survey found that the number of unemployed adults aged 18 to 64 rose to a record 6.2 percent in December from 6 percent in November, according an estimate by the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank.
The percentage of people who are unemployed has been rising steadily over the past decade, even as more Americans have entered the workforce.
But the number who are actively looking for work has dropped since 2012, when a wave of jobless Americans returned to the labor force.
“The decline in the number seeking work has been driven by an increase in underemployment, the decline in work-related hours, and the decline of the labor-force participation rate,” the report said.
The labor force participation rate — the percentage of the population who are either actively looking or who have actively looked for work — fell to 59.7% in December, the lowest level since November.
That means nearly three-quarters of the nation’s jobless population is still working or actively looking.