I think things have been getting bad for a while and they're likely to get worse before they get better.
What I've seen...the wages in my area have stagnated, businesses have laid off their workers...my Brother in law is currently laid off, my DH was laid off at the beginning of the year. Thankfully, my DH was able to secure other employment but it's a temp to perm job so we've got our fingers crossed that this economy won't prevent them from taking him on permanently come January like they're supposed to. At the same time, the cost of living has increased exponentially.
People who were semi-comfortable are feeling the pinch, people who were living paycheck to paycheck are floundering. The church where I work has a food pantry. Five years ago we thought we were busy if we served 20 families a month. Now we serve in excess of 20 families each day the food pantry is open. Most of the new people we're serving are people who wouldn't have required the assistance of a food pantry five years ago but due to rising costs they can no longer make ends meet.
There are houses for sale everywhere around here and no one is buying. People are being foreclosed on and having their utilities shut off because they can't afford to pay. Again, there are staggering numbers of people who would, five years ago, would not have been having these issues.
Personally...as I said, my DH was laid off earlier this year and although he has another job it's not a secure job and he doesn't yet have benefits like health insurance so we pray that there is no medical emergency in our immediate future. It would wipe us out completely and then some.
Because DH couldn't find employment locally, he found a job in a nearby town which requires a 30 minute commute each way. The additional expense of fuel and the ever rising costs of food and other necessities has certainly curbed our spending. We don't go out to eat as often and are always looking for inexpensive meal ideas. Our 401K has tanked big time.
Fortunately, we never really had a lot of money so it's not like a huge crash for us...just a bit more tightening of the belt, but I fear there's going to come a time when we won't be able to find another notch to tighten.