Jobs have been moving offshore or eliminated due to technology for a hundred years. Check out the door frame on a GM car, it'll have "Body by Fisher" on it. Fisher was a wagon maker, how many of those jobs are around? I worked for a glass company in the 70's and they were building plants all over the world and importing the bottles. Why? The wages and other costs of doing business were a fraction of here. This was a company based in Toledo, Ohio. Coal and steel production are 2 or 3 times what they were thirty years ago but the number of workers is 1/3. Mechanization of the processes. We haven't had a real national recession since the 1980's so an entire generation has grown up watching prices stay relatively stable, incomes rise and unemployment drop. Check out the statistics from 1978 or so through 1983. Inflation was running at 12%, interest rates were 17% (no cars or houses being bought) and unemployment at 10%+, twice today's rate. The last few years of housing sales was a result of a government policy put in place in the 90's to put more people in houses and historically low interest rates. You had no documentation mortgages, ARM's and people borrowing the down payment (which never used to be allowed). When my wife and I bought our house 20+ years ago we had to verify our income three times and felt lucky to get a conventional mortgage at 9%. If someone buys a house they can't afford what do you think will happen if he/she can't pay the mortgage? People have always worked hard-employers pay as little as they can to have workers, that's business. People have moved to the Sun Belt from the North East and Midwest over the last 20-30 years because the south was where jobs were and the other places were where the jobs weren't. Wage rates are almost always lower in rural areas, the only thing that has raised them where I am is the proximity to DC. This County used to be the poorest in MD, now it's one of the wealthiest and the foreclosure rate is through the roof. People have to have the $600K house, the Escalade/Benz/BMW/Lexus and all the symbols of the good life-flat screen TV's, vacation homes, private schools/colleges. They're paying for it now. That's not to say that is what your family has done, but a lot of what you see now is people who have vastly over extended themselves. And yes, I've lost jobs and been laid off from businesses that never came back.
1 2003 Ford Focus (harvested by a 6 point whitetail)
1 1991 Chevy Lumina (harvested by a PT Cruiser)