One of the things that struck me Thursday, as I was scrambling to write the story in today's paper about the problems at The Bee's parent, The McClatchy Co.: what a lousy month January was.
Company officials told me they saw some modest signs of stability in the advertising market in December. But things took a nosedive in January. Now, keep in mind that the advertising business always slows in January compared with December, but this was significantly worse than expected.
The point was driven home today, with the announcement that US unemployment jumped to 7.6 percent in January. Nearly 600,000 jobs disappeared, the worst one-month showing since 1974 (What a year that was - I got my driver's license and spent half the time waiting in line to buy gas, courtesy of the first oil embargo. Ah, the memories).
Meanwhile, February is off to quite a start, at least around here: Today is the first day of state-worker furloughs. My colleague Jon Ortiz reports that one of the unions filed a last-ditch bid to block the furloughs, but it was denied by the 3rd District Court of Appeal.
Downtown and midtown Sacramento were fairly quiet at lunchtime today, although not quite the ghost town that some had predicted. The streets were fairly empty during my morning commute, but some of the restaurants were doing a decent business.
We'll have plenty more about the furloughs, and the national unemployment numbers, in Saturday's paper.