How many former Lehman Brothers bankers or AIG (AIG) executives are likely to be buying a Park Avenue apartment or a home in Darien, Conn., this year? Most likely answer: not many at all.
As anyone who works on Wall Street, invests in the stock market, or just reads the newspapers knows, the past few weeks for the financials sector have been as ugly as Frankenstein's sister. People have seen their net worth eviscerated, if not obliterated completely.
But Wall Street's woes are going to have a direct impact on communities around the U.S.--and not just because the proposed $700 billion bailout will result in higher taxes for most Americans. The pain will spread beyond the banks themselves to their back-office and IT operations, accountants, lawyers, and other professional service employees who depend on work from finance companies. It will also reach regional banks across the country. Credit-card companies and firms that deal with auto loans are also vulnerable as the credit market tightens. Even insurance companies, which have remained relatively strong, could be hurt if the economy worsens and workers drop existing policies and decide not to take on new ones. From CEOs to security guards, the financial, insurance, and real estate sectors employ approximately 9.8 million people in the U.S. alone, nearly 7% of the entire American workforce, and their spending potential is even greater.