U.S. Loses 20K Jobs but Some Are Merchants of Misfortune

More consumers may be turning to preparers because of a 2005 change in bankruptcy laws that, Brunstad said, made bankruptcy filings for individuals more complicated and more expensive.

"A lot of people can't afford now to hire a lawyer," he said.

Law firms, meanwhile, thank their lucky stars for the people who can afford to hire bankruptcy lawyers. At some firms, the boom in bankruptcy work will compensate for a slowdown in other areas, such as mortgages.

Weak Dollar, Good News?

With the faltering economy has come a weak dollar -- and for some industries, that's just fine.

With American goods now cheaper around the world, the U.S. technology sector is reaping the rewards through its exports, said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist for Global Insight, a Massachusetts forecasting company.

A weak dollar is prompting more investors to put their money in commodities, like oil, leading to more jobs in the energy sector.

In the meantime, investors, wary of the volatile stock market, have been putting their cash into such commodities as oil and food, which, in turn, has helped prompt job creation in agriculture and parts of the energy sector, Behravesh said.

"Any business or anybody working in those industries," he said, "should be feeling reasonably good at this point."

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