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Economy takes toll on NYers' families, love lives

Jodi Swaby

Jodi Swaby Credit: RJ Mickelson/amNY

The troubled economy has carved its way into our lives in the form of lost jobs, reduced hours and heightened anxieties.

But in addition, “a wide range of implications on personal relationships are linked to the recession and the economic downturn,” noted D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C.

Forty-six percent of Americans who had been unemployed for six months or more told Pew their family relationships had been strained, and 43% said they had lost close contact with friends.

Both marriages and births are in decline as weddings — and dependents — are increasingly seen as pricey luxuries. Also, there is an increase in cohabiting couples and “multigenerational families” as people double up to save on housing costs. Ironically enough, divorce rates are dropping, in part because “people are frozen in place by the recession,” Cohn explained.

Jodi Swaby, 22, artist, Harlem

I’ve turned down plenty of dates with guys because I didn’t feel they were where they needed to be financially — they’d lost their jobs, or were between jobs, or weren’t making any money. I’ve had four jobs this month alone! I’m working seven days a week. My time is a lot more expensive now than the $50 dinner.

Samantha Chen, 31, graphic designer, Bay Ridge

My best friend changed careers — from fashion to business — but still couldn’t find a job. She got an MBA but didn’t have experience and always lost out to people with experience. She just moved to Puerto Rico to take care of her grandparents. If she had had a job, I don’t think she would have been the one to pick up and move, but she was the one with time available to do that.  Now I don’t get to see her at all. It hurts to have someone missing that you’ve known such a long time. I’ve known her more than 10 years.

Ennaldo Burgos, 29, concierge, Forest Hills

Everyone is working longer hours for less money; that’s just the way it is. I have a 5-year-old daughter, Gabby, and one day she told me, “Daddy, every time I want to play with you, you’re always tired.” That hurt me. That crushed me.

Noah Fessenden, 37, clinical recruiter, Elmhurst

I make one less trip a year to see my parents in New England. Hannah is our first child — 8 months old. They’d like us to take her up more often, but it costs $75 to fill up the gas tank, and it takes about three tanks to go there and back.


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