Lights Out Economy? Circuit City Closes

The expanding financial crisis has hit retailers hard, but none as big as Circuit City, the nationwide electronics store that on Sunday is closing its remaining 500 plus stores, letting go 34,000 employees.

Among those are 105 people who worked at the Paramus branch, where employees stood in the mostly empty store today wearing glum looks on their faces.

Many told ABC News they have been assiduously applying for jobs, but to no avail.

Store manager Chris Varate does not know how he is going to support his two children and pay his mortgage.

"It makes me feel hopeless. It makes me feel inadequate. I don't know how I'm going to pay my bills," Varate said.

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Nearby, other retail chains including KB Toys and Linens and Things have already gone out of business. But just down the road in this retail hub, there is a small sign of hope.

Target opened a brand new store in Paramus today, one of 27 new Targets around the country. But the chain is not expanding because its making money. It committed to these new stores before the economic downturn.

More than 2,300 people applied for the 300 available jobs here in Paramus. Store manager Abel Chapin said he was surprised by the quaility of the applicants.

"We have people from Wall Street, real estate, people who own their own businesses," Chapin said.

Twelve and a half million Americans are now listed as unemployed, but that doesn't include the millions of so called "underemployed."

Mark Cooper in Glendale, Ariz., was laid off from a $70,000-a-year corporate job and now makes $12 an hour as a janitor, which at least helps pay his sick wife's medical bills.

"The pay isn't anything outstanding, but it helps meet our bills," said Cooper, who considers himself lucky to have the job.

Patricia Pao, a corporate consultant and founder of "the Pao Principle," said that the underemployed are aggressively looking for jobs more suitable for them, while doing whatever they can in the meantime to pay the bills.

"It really shows that people are not giving up. They are doing what they have to do to make this work," Pao said.

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