The banks are not giving out loans, people are struggling to pay their bills and many are in danger of losing their houses.
Most of us who were born after Word War II in the Western World have never experienced an awful lot of hardship. We may not have been rich, but we've been getting by. And now we find ourselves out of work with little chance of getting a decent job again.
Unemployment in this country (Ireland) has doubled over the last year and the rate of unemployment has exceeded 11%. They're talking 14% by next year, 2010.
So what can possibly be good about that?
In my opinion, the recession can be a new beginning, a fresh start. That's not an easy thing to do and it won't be possible for everybody out there.
However, for those of us who don't want to take this recession lying down, there are opportunities. All it takes is some reflection and to think outside the box.
Many of us have talents, skills and dreams, but we've shelved them because we were too busy in our jobs. We may have put some of our skills to good use as a hobby, but we never thought of making money out of them.
Now times have changed. Why not sit back and think about what skills you have, what interests you have and what you would like to do.
Not every new little business venture would cost a lot of money to set up. Some may be completely free, others may require a minimum outlay of money.
And what about courses? There is a multitude of courses out there where you can improve your skills or acquire completely new skills. Depending on where you live, there may be money available from the state if you're unemployed and would like to do a course. Or the job centre may offer you a course for free.
In Ireland, there is a new website for unemployed people where you can offer your skills and someone will give you their skills in exchange. Like the old barter system: I'll do this for you, and you give me that, or you do that for me.
Fair enough, most of us won't become rich over night with our new ventures, but if we persevere, we may be able to make a living out of something that we would've never dreamed of in the past.