According to top economists, the recession was officially over a year ago.  Tell that to the scores of unemployed and their reaction might be, “yeah, that’s  because the Depression is now upon us.”

I’m no economist. In fact I’ll be the first to admit I got a big fat D in Economics back in college. But I do listen to what clients tell me. Just this morning, a woman who represents a furniture manufacturer to retailers in her territory told me that after recently calling on numerous furniture stores, she has given up. None are ordering new inventory, and one owner was in tears, fearing that after 30 successful years in business, she would have to close her doors. That’s not good news.

Further, a friend of mine who sold her house in June told me that her Realtor revealed that she was lucky to get her house sold during the stimulus tax credit because after it ended, business came to an abrupt halt. Houses are not selling as easily as they did over the past year.

Here’s the problem I see. If furniture stores are closing, and Real Estate Agents aren’t making sales, they will be out pounding the pavement looking for another job, outside their own industry. And if people aren’t working, they’re not spending, thus shuttering more businesses. Therefore, who is supposed to hire these career changers? There are fewer and fewer jobs being offered because businesses are barely hanging on.

Self-employment and contract work is becoming the new normal. A new stimulus plan is being proposed for small businesses. However, CEOs are less optimistic about the future and are expecting somewhat of a long and uneven recovery.

The best you can do to protect yourself is to keep your resume and LinkedIn profile up to date, and continue to pursue necessary education and certifications required of your industry. Everyday is your job interview, and networking shouldn’t just happen when you’re looking for a job.